Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel, the he and she music factory know as Mates of State, have confirmed the May 2008 release of their fifth full length album, Re-Arrange Us.
Re-Arrange Us follows Bring It Back, written and recorded around a schedule mandated by the birth of Gardner and Hammel’s first child and hailed upon its spring 2006 release as “truly unique, wonderfully complex pop” (NYLON), “a top-shelf treat” (ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY), an Essential by GQ and a Best of the Month in ELLE.
Though conceived (no pun intended) as a duo, Mates of State’s have never failed to generate a trademark wall of sound built on dozens of varied voicings of keys, drums, and alternately lushly layered and playfully dueling vocals. On Re-Arrange Us they move beyond these boundaries (their traditional organ sound is a distant memory, replaced with organic piano and synth sounds) with additional instrumentation-not to mention a quantum leap in song craft apparent on instantly indelible gems like “Now,” “Jigsaw” and “Get Better.” Throughout Re-Arrange Us, Kori’s piano and the emergence of both Mates’ lead vocals from their trademark harmonizing signal the next stage of Mates of State’s evolution.
Mates of State have been equally busy outside the studio: Last February, the band was the sole musical guest on NPR’s This American Life tour, providing interludes for Ira Glass, Dave Eggers, Dan Savage, Sarah Vowell and David Rakoff’s readings to 3000 crowds in Boston, Seattle, Minneapolis, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and beyond.
Mates of State’s pre-Bring It Back discography included the albums My Solo Project, Our Constant Concern, and Team Boo, as well as numerous singles and EPs, most notably 2005’s All Day EP.
The combination of acoustic instrumentation – Kori on baby grand, Jason playing with brushes – and an almost entirely new audiences inspired a subsequent fall run through New York, Northampton, and Boston (at the Museum of Fine Arts) accompanied by cello, trumpet and back-up vocalists – making it very likely that they’ll be taking additional instrumentation on tour for the first time when they hit the road later this year, both headlining and making the rounds at a slew of US festivals this summer and fall.
A new album, a new daughter, a new sound, and a new round of world touring. That’s Mates of State: truly prolific in every sense of the word.
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