Mates of State, 'Mountaintops' (Barsuk)

Critical Mass
Release Date: September 13, 2011
Label: Barsuk

by Michael Tedder

Married duo Mates of State are in their second decade of refashioning Brill Building harmonies and new-wave wooziness into odes to domestic bliss. On their seventh album, they've now grown comfortable enough to cut down on the cute and flirt with new styles -- "Total Serendipity" has a Motown shake worthy of Smokey Robinson. Mountaintops has plenty of upbeat romps, but the most compelling moments are the epic, minor-key laments "At Least I Have You" and "Unless I'm Led," which argue that even the truest of loves can still feel lonely and miserable.

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