Mates of State–On Top of the Covers

Sep 15th, 2010 in Music

If you are looking for straight-ahead, unadulterated pop music in which the lyrics deftly dissect relationships with heavenly harmonies, look no further than Mates of State.  They have set that sub-genre’s standards extremely high, particularly with their last two records, “Bring it Back” and “Re-Arrange Us.”  This married duo (originally hailing from and hailed on in Lawrence, Kansas before relocating to San Francisco) is hyper-melodic, inventive and the perfect accompaniment to the breakup or breakdown of relationships.

They have just jumped on the covers bandwagon by recently releasing a new record entitled, “Crushes: The Covers Mix-Tape.”   They cover everyone from Tom Waits to Nick Cave to Death Cab to Belle & Sebastian to Mars Volta.  But perhaps the best song of the new record is the great Girls’ Laura. Check it out and then check out a couple of our favorites from their earlier records.

Mates of State–Laura

[audio:http://www.thelefortreport.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/01-Laura.mp3|titles=01 Laura]

My Only Offer illumines couples and the ease with which they can drift apart.  We like the following counterpoint stanzas:

“Bought a home we bartered right.
Two kids, two car delight.
Posed pictures on the walls.
Small talk in the bedroom halls.

Can’t make it home tonight.
Go to sleep but leave the light.
I pretend to make a call.
Loose talk into bedroom stalls.

Oh, oh, oh is my only offer.
Stifle copies of myself.
Oh, oh, oh, or someone else.”

Mates of State–My Only Offer

[audio:http://www.thelefortreport.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/03-My-Only-Offer.mp3|titles=03 My Only Offer]

We love Running Out and its throw-it-all-away atmospherics, not to mention the heights of the chorus.

Mates of State–Running Out

[audio:http://www.thelefortreport.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/10-Running-Out.mp3|titles=10 Running Out]

And the lyrics of Think Long are worth reading in whole:

“On our picture shelves.
(Get on, or get out).
Statues mocking me.
How am I supposed to feel?
How am I not put at ease?
Talk yourself to sleep.
Fall into it deep.
I will wash off mine with rolling waves of worry.
It doesn’t have to feel so wrong.
Bethany you’re riding this one to its grave (the gates).
You never understood the difference between someone’s beating and refusal to trade.
Bless these tangled veins.
(Get on, or get out).
None of which will grow the same.
Now am I supposed to fake it?
Now are you so poised, at ease?
Think long, think, think long, think think.
Can you feel it surround me?
I think it’ll drown me.
And I wonder how you could say that we (you) really owe (us) anything.
Think long, think, think long, think think.”

Think long, people.  No sudden moves.

Mates of State–Think Long

[audio:http://www.thelefortreport.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/01-Think-Long.mp3|titles=01 Think Long]

And finally, for you parents out there, check out Nature and the Wreck in which Kori sings over delicate piano about the couple’s baby and the aftermath of a car wreck the family survived together.

Mates of State–Nature and the Wreck

[audio:http://www.thelefortreport.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/07-Nature-The-Wreck.mp3|titles=07 Nature & The Wreck]


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