Everyone needs something cute every once in a while... once in a while. Too much can make you vomit, but a little dose can make you feel a lot better about things. Mates of State's latest album, Team Boo might just be the appropriate prescription. Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel are a married couple from San Francisco playing in a two-piece band... CUTE! Jason plays drums and Kori plays electric organs - they both sing... CUTE!
The duo must have caught notice of their indelible ability to magnetize adorability towards them. Last years, Our Constant Concern made Mates of States shows a bug-lamp for skinny emo-girls with headbands, colorful scarves and their younger brothers' sixth-grade soccer-club t-shirt. Unfortunately, on Our Constant Concern the band replaced the fun, swinging, upbeat melodies of their first album My Solo Projects with tiring ballads.
Team Boo is a repetition of the band's original formula. With just an organ and drum set, the Mates do a good job of utilizing what they have to create a solid backdrop for their vocals harmonies. The high-pitched carnival sound will eventually get intolerable, overwhelming and gimmicky, but it holds up for the album's forty minute duration. How much this album can be repeated... well, I'm too afraid to try.
Team Boo is the duo's venturing into a formatting songs into poppy-sequences that are vibrant enough to keep the sound alive. On the disc's opener, "Ha Ha" the music launches into a fast-paced Nintendo twinkle, that's almost danceable, certainly more technically mature than anything the group has produced so far. "The Whiner's Bio" and "Fluke" are equally as upbeat, but have a tendency to quickly become uniform and bland. On "Parachutes (Funeral Song)" the group mistakenly return to their cliched emo ballads of Our Constant Concern, however they add a little more depth by using a piano, making the song, not so great, but a refreshing break from the jumpy organs.
This album is energetic and innocent, its jubilant and fun, but there's just too much puppy-love. As the Mates of States' third album Team Boo shows significant signs of growth, yet, they still have quite a ways to go. Its sad that cuteness goes hand-in-hand with immaturity.
6.0 / 10
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