Mates of State: Mountaintops

Mates of State: Mountaintops
Husband-and-wife duo, Mates of State started off in 2000 by releasing My Solo Project. The album was noted for its euphoric energy and using nothing but organ and drums. Since that time, the group has released six albums and all have featured a very similar euphoric energy but their sound has evolved. The use of other instruments became particularly apparent on 2008’s Re-Arrange Us. The album ditched their old-timey sounding organ for updated synthesizers and pianos. The result was the band’s best selling album to date. The first original album to follow Re-Arrange Us is Mountaintops.
Similar to Re-Arrange Us, Mountaintops does not feature the bands once signature organ sound. The band instead experiments with several different types of keyboards and synthesizers. The album’s lead single, “Maracas” features synthesized dreamy string that remind me of something from a Phoenix track. Bouncy, gospel tune “Total Serendipity” features straight piano while “Sway” features retro-80s synthesizers.
The experimentation does not end with keyboard types; the band mixes instruments like horns and guitars into the fold. “Desire” starts off with a slow acoustic guitar riff before minimalistic drums and synthesized strings are added to the mix. The track crescendos with a flurry of horn. The song is perhaps the most un-Mates of State sounding song on the entire album yet it works.
In the end, fans of Re-Arrange Us should be more than happy with Mountaintops. The formula from album to album remains basically the same and the band’s contagious energy is still intact. While it is hard for me not to yearn for the sound of that old organ, I fear it shall never return but if the band keeps making albums as good as Mountaintops, perhaps someday I will be able to forget it.
Rating: 7.5/10
MP3: Mates of State “Total Serendipity”
Buy: iTunes or Insound!