Mates of State – Team Boo

Well, well, well, looks like the States of Mate are back, and this time they brought actual songs! Is what I bet they were saying back in ought two when this album came out. And sure enough, it’s the same idea (the girl sets her keyboard on ‘piano’ sometimes this time though! Or maybe uses an actual piano!) in terms of production and band members, but the songs are much more songish. All of a sudden, instead of wacky inexplicable changes in tempo and Unicorns-y non-repeating sections, they’re verse-chorusing it up – which appeals to my shamefully narrow definition of what music should sound like! We dig-a repetition. And the songs continue to be about things like loving your partner because at least you know they tried. Hey, it beats the hell out of most lyrical sentiments, and it’s done by pretty people, so it must be good, right? Right.

Except, of course, for the opener “Ha Ha,” my least favourite song here. First it sounds like Styx for about five seconds, then it lurches back and forth between equally unlikeable silly sections. Oh, it doesn’t tickle me in any positive way, it doesn’t.

But after that – hooray, it’s a streak of great, catchy songs that you can send to that stupid but hot girl who likes indie music! “Whiner’s Bio”? I’d write that! “Fluke”? Not much of one, on this section of the album! “Open Book”? I don’t know how to read a closed one! with writing more cohesive songs comes recognizing when a part is great, like the bouncy section of the last song or the chorus of the first, and not being afraid to serve it again.

Of course, this is a Mates of State album, and like the rest, there’s a sudden drop-off after about the midway point. After those three great songs there’s a couple mediocre ones, then the wordplayin’, underrated “Gotta Get A Problem” and the equally great, piano-led, so-sweet-but-that’s-okay, downtempo, “Parachutes (Funeral Song) and that’s it. There’s four songs that you’ll barely remember, except maybe like “this is the one with no beginning” or “this is the slow one.” Gee. Not that they’re bad, but if there were no great songs on the album it’d make one pointless EP. But I wouldn’t be reviewing them if I didn’t like them, right? See Metric reviews for details.
7 / 10


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