Mates of State

Norman Dog

Intra-band love -- past or present, real or imagined -- is the simplest way to ensure that chumps (like this one) endlessly obsess over your personal life and ignore the damn tunes. Ask the White Stripes: Everyone else has. But if Fleetwood Mac represents the benchmark for post-relationship acrimony, Mates of State sets the gold standard for lovey-doveyness.

Mates of State comprises organist Kori Gardner and drummer Jason Hammel, a married couple now three albums deep into a career crafting bouncy indie pop tunes in which they giddily shout two-part harmonies over cryptic lyrics: "This is the blood that we're made of/So tell it like a chronicle/Who's dancing all around?/Let's give it to me, give it to me now." Onstage, Gardner and Hammel set up directly across from each other, swapping loving stares and goofy glances between bouts of cutesy, corny stage banter.

"She just got her wisdom teeth out today. She can't really talk."

"He's totally lying."

If you'd just suffered through a lousy day -- lost your job, pissed off your mate, wrecked your car -- Mates of State is the worst possible band you could see afterward: sickeningly, pervasively cute.

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