I had picked up on the Mates of State on their prior album, Re-Arrange Us. It caught my attention but I didn’t love it. But it was good enough that I started looking into their back catalogue and keeping an eye on their future.
In case you don’t know them, Mates of State is a Connecticut spousal unit that delivers joyous DIY pop without any irony or gimmicks. This kind of earnestness generally captures sneers from cynics and rockists. It might have been deserved on Re-Arrange Us and their follow up covers compilation, but not on Mountaintops.
On Mountaintops, Mates of State keep the great melodies but ditch the preciousness. From the starburst of a song Palomino to the restrained Unless I’m Lead, Mountaintops has enough distinctly enjoyable songs to earn its way into regular listening. Or at least, I listen to it regularly.