Crushes (The Covers Mixtape)

by Lisa Kirchner

Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel, the husband-and-wife rockers who make up Mates of State, say the idea behind Crushes was to play some of their favorite songs by other artists as though they had written them.

Gardner does this with ease, adding her signature power-pop vocals to hits like Tom Waits’ “Long Way Home,” a song that is made even more deliriously good here, but Hammel tends to change his normal singing voice from song to song as though performing karaoke, rather than putting his own spin on the tracks. This is most noticeable on the band’s version of Mars Volta’s “Son et Lumiere,” where Gardner takes on Volta’s spacey vocal style. If you’re a fan of Mates of State, this running tick in the project takes nothing away from what is, in the end, an-other fun release. But if you’re checking out the band for the first time, you may want to grab one of their earlier records as well to get a real feel for what they’re made of.

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