Mates of State have gone short and sweet-as-a-sugarcube with their latest and first release since 2011. You’re Going To Make It does what it says on the jar (/CD case) and delivers little spoonfuls of positivity in easily gulpable bursts. Playing up to what the duo see as a recent trend away from audio-consumption of full ‘long play’ albums, the thinking behind this five-song offering is a serving of hits and hits alone in digestible brevity, with all of that pesky album-length padding stripped away. Whether they‘ve rightly judged our audio predilections or simply didn’t have enough songs to make it to the full feature length (could anyone blame them with seven albums and a greatest hits already under their belts?) the new EP certainly spans the tried and tested MoS range.
Standouts for enthusiasm alone are the first track, ‘Staring Contest’, and ‘I Want To Run’. These find the romantically entangled musical duo doing what they do best in a nineties-noughties limbo of synth pop joy. Melodic harmonies leap and tumble around with the ease and spontaneity of gazelles at sunrise. There are flashes of brilliance, subtle complexities slice through the emboldened chorus. Jason and Kori’s voices haven’t aged a day since Team Boo times and still manage to entwine and mingle as beautifully as the first day they met (I would imagine).
Where the EP falls down somewhat are on the more downbeat tunes. There are still sparks of excitement eclipsed by dark CocoRosie-esque quirks in structure and tone, but ‘Beautiful Kids’ in particular seems to drag and struggle with its own meaning. The lyrics don’t add much to a well-travelled commentary on changing social interaction since the rise of mobile technology and there’s just not enough going on to merit the last minute of the track.
That said, the slower songs can certainly be felt to add a rounded edge to what would otherwise be an unrelentingly pointy poptastic delivery. ‘Side of Boxes’ ends the EP on a high, full of poignancy and emotional charge, reminiscent of their most wonderful yester-decade songs ‘The Kissaway’ and ‘The Re-Arranger’. This song is sure-footed and spirits you along its secret pathways with lovely little nuanced melodies and sustained keyboard landscaping.
So perhaps Jason is right. Perhaps this little airy pocket of songminstrelling is just the right length for 2015. Long enough to find a skylight, a cheeky beer and get on with feeling optimistic that we’ll have a beautiful, sunny, carefree summer.
7Ruth Singleton's Score