Love Will Keep Them Together

As far as cutesy couple music goes, the husband-wife team Mates of State pretty much tops the list (Captain & Tennille and Steve & Eydie, notwithstanding). The duo of Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel do hyperactive indie rock with a exploratory bent, blending electronic organ with inspired drum work and harmonized vocals. But their latest album, Re-Arrange Us, released this May, represents a decidedly different approach. For starters, the band really took the re-arranging theme and ran with it: Like Beck’s recent album, the Information, Re-Arrange Us allows the listener to customize the cover by adding or removing layers of artwork. It’s a gimmick, no doubt, but it also represents the many faces the duo wear as partners, musicians, indie rock darlings, and — most recently — parents. Those personal changes definitely shine through in the music too. There’s a new level of complexity interwoven in the Mates’ work. They’ve shed a lot of the electronics and faster beats, replacing them with sweeping orchestral accompaniments and a more organic-sounding piano. Maybe the once unapologetically manic band is just growing up, as (duh) many bands are inclined to do when they get older, have kids, and settle down. Despite that, the Mates have managed to retain their capricious melody changes, pop tendencies, and those adorable synchronized vocals. Celebrate with the happy couple tonight at 8 p.m. at the Culture Room (3045 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale). Tickets cost $15. Call 954-564-1074, or visit
Fri., Sept. 12, 2008
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John Linn