Mates of State, with Sound Team, Spain Coloured Orange

As one might expect from a happily married young couple playing music together, there's oodles of cutesy goodness in Mates of State. Drummer Jason Hammel and his wife, organist Kori Gardner, share equal time on the mike, sounding youthful and innocent - the age you were the first time you fell in love - as they sing happy-go-lucky, high-pitched melodies over the upbeat organ-jammers that dominate the pair's sound. Because the twosome basically shares every breathing moment together, there's sincerity and honesty in the songs, and it is kind of sweet - sometimes too sweet.

In the booklet for each of the Mates' four albums, there's at least one photo of these two shameless lovebirds cuddling, holding hands or smiling cheek to cheek, forcing you not only to hear the mush but to bear witness to it, there among the dreamy, diary-esque lyrics. This can get downright repulsive, especially to down-and-out single folks who aren't buying their "love" crap. For the longest time, I didn't.

But for me, love with the perfect girl did come around. And oddly enough, an MoS CD came with her on our first date. I haven't gone so far as to become a fan since then, but after hearing the new Bring It Back, easily the duo's most mature album to date, I'm starting to think about cutting them a break. After all, they're in love, too.

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Travis Ritter