Re-Arrange Usby Mates of State
Giving a record a title like Re-Arrange Us might imply some kind of shift in sound or approach but on Mates of State album of that title, there is nothing of the sort taking place. In fact, the album continues along the path the band has plotted out over their last couple releases with more piano and less organ, a glossy, slick feel that's radio ready and super-hooky tunes that are both sing-along friendly and emotionally powerful. "Get Better" sets the tone of the album right away with a sunshine-y melody, smooth production and sentiments like, "Forget all your politics for awhile/Let the color schemes arrive." It's a near perfect summer jam, almost too perfect as the rest of the album never quite recaptures the glorious feeling the song provides. Some come close though. "Help Help," with its '80s synths and fuzzed organ; "My Only Offer," with a majestic piano part and beautiful vocals from Kori Gardner; and the positively exuberant "Jigsaw" are the kind of songs indie rock bands would kill for. Gardner and Jason Hammel are becoming adept at creating big, shiny records with a real-life heart beating beneath. Indeed behind the pretty melodies and sing-along choruses are some tough sentiments with talk of losing fights and cold sweat on "You Are Free," long lost love on "Blue and Gold Print," and desperate battles on "The Re-Arranger." It's a fully realized album that will appeal to indie fans that like some sugar with their sadness, some sour with their sweetness. Most of all it will go down like honey for Mates of State fans who have been following the band's progression from an edgy lo-fi duo to the indie rock hit making machine they have so gracefully become.
- Release Date:
Performance CreditsMates of State Primary Artist
Gary Olson Trumpet
John Vanderslice screams
Peter Katis Bass,Guitar,Background Vocals
Jim Eno Percussion
Chris Walla Guitar,Loops
Ben Gibbard Background Vocals
Jason Hammel Vocals,Group Member
Kori Gardner Vocals,Group Member
Linnea Weiss Cello
Technical CreditsPeter Katis Producer,Engineer
Mates of State Composer
Jim Eno Producer,Engineer
Chris Walla Producer,Engineer
Jason Hammel Instrumentation
Kori Gardner Instrumentation
Ben Dickey Management
Greg Giorgio Engineer
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I received this CD a few days after it came out, and after reading multiple reviews from "long time fans" that didn't like it, I was apprehensive at best.
And I will admit, it did seem a bit too... sparse. Too clean. Where was the insane roller coaster of sound their early records boasted? The songs that felt like 3 songs smooshed into one, but in a good way? It took me a while, longer than any other Mates album has, but I finally fell in love. Yes it's a simpler and cleaner album, but you could see this was the direction they were going in with their `06 release 'Bring It Back'. They've grown and matured; they aren't the young lovers they once were; they own property, have children... it's natural that the tone and subject of their songs would reflect this. Such as in "Blue and Gold Print": "But I won't ever pass up a second to tell you replacement's a myth / cause I know when the kids are all grown we will still have this blue and gold print" and in "My Only Offer": "Bought a home we bartered right / two kids two car delight". Kori and Jason have even said themselves, that they look back on their first two albums thinking they were too hectic and unorganized. So bands change. Evolve. It happens all the time but rarely does it result in a better sound than this. "Everything's gonna get lighter / even if it never gets better / forget your politics for awhile / let the color schemes arrive". Exactly.
Highlights: "Get Better", and "My Only Offer" and "Help Help" (which I always have to listen to more than once because 3:44 is never enough).
It's also worth mentioning that the liner notes/packaging is unique and beautiful. The picture shown is only one combination of covers you can make with the 2 'backgrounds' and pictures of the band provided. Also, lyrics are provided.