Music » Spun

Mates of State - Mountain Tops (Barsuk)

If you thought the Cars could get annoying …


  • Barsuk

People used to get so irritated when a Mates of State song came on — they'd bitch until you shut it off. Their early vocal abrasions laid against towering, cartoonish drum-and-synth combos in service of songs that rendered A.C. Newman's power pop burlesques comparatively lightweight. But when the cute-coy married duo mellowed out and started crooning on Bring It Back and Re-Arrange Us mid-decade, they proved more than a little dangerous, belting out increasingly unshakeable tunes over ever more persuasive Big Beat tracks.

Beginning on their Crushes covers set last year, it seems that Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel have taken this too far (though 15 years in, they've earned the right to schmaltz like "Mistakes"). Opener "Palomino" reaches for past glories but feels watered down; the vocal performances have reached a distressing crossroads at which they're either agreeably bland or gruesomely annoying, the cotton-candy way some of the Cars' album tracks were annoying. At best, prom-night bangers like "Total Serendipity" and "Basement Money" may not inspire, but no one will object to them. Truth told, though, the Mates were a finer group when people were demanding their silence.


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.