Mates of State

Bring It Back (Barsuk)

SXSW Records

Mates of State

Bring It Back (Barsuk)

While Mates of State's first three albums could sometimes be as fun as mainlining sugar, it was hard to get away from the question: "Why are you yelling at us?" Maybe the husband-wife pair of Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel didn't think they were being heard over the euphonic cacophony of the drums and organ. Or maybe they just loved love so much they couldn't contain themselves. Whatever the cause, the cut-and-paste approach to quilting quirky sounds underneath the shouting made it difficult not to get addicted to the rush. While the gooey but mysterious candy core of the Tootsie Roll Pop remains intact on the duo's fourth, Bring It Back, the licks it takes to get there are sometimes more musical than its predecessors. There's more range, more melody, more space to come down from the buzz before ramping back up again. There's still the shamelessly giddy four-minute confections ("Fraud in the '80s"), but with the Beatles-esque piano intro of "What It Means," the Mates are beginning to restrain their joy a bit. On "So Many Ways," they revert to form, almost lifting wholesale the intro from "A Duel Will Settle This," but by then they've show more range than ever before. It's not a lot, but it's enough. (Thursday, March 16, 12mid @ Parish)

***.5

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