Husband and wife duo Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel return two years later-and plenty wiser-with their newest full-length recorded offering, Re-Arrange Us. But unlike contemporary indie rock power duos like The Raveonettes, The Ting Tings, and the Kills, the Mates forgo stripped-down instrumentation and the seemingly requisite computer-heavy compositions and plunge head first into a project that is all lush, orchestral power pop. Gardner’s layered vocals are beautifully paired with quietly climbing piano parts and somber lyrics about lost love on “Blue and Gold Print,” then take a turn toward the more straightforward on the upbeat “Help Help.” The mash-up of organs, keys, and ambitious harmonizing makes for a startling little gem of an album that sounds like a less frenzied New Pornographers release-and a perfect step forward for Mates of State.


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