Hope Of The States – Left
Yesterday, I received a package that I’ve been waiting for quite some time; a big box filled with DVDs. I’d basically asked my brother to send over some DVDs that came out whilst I’ve come to Oz. It took two attempts, but the box is now here and I’ve got a relaxing weekend planned watching some cool stuff. There was also a CD included in the box that I’ve not been able to get my hands on here. Overall CDs haven’t been very difficult to get my hands on, I mean only last week did I get a copy of the Glider EP by My Bloody Valentine and also the Aereogramme/Isis collaboration LP. But there’s been a CD that I’ve been meaning to get for a while that I still haven’t laid my hands on. Last night I got it, I loaded it onto my i-pod and went to work this morning so I could specifically listen to it. Hope of the States split up late in 2006 which was a shame, the first song they ever released “Black Dollar Bills” still sounds amazing and I always thought they had promise. And whilst Left is a good album, there’s nothing that’s really grabbed my as much as some of the songs on their previous album “The Lost Riots”.
HOTS always promised to meld the post rock sound of Godspeed You, Black Emperor with actual songs. They never really delivered on this, but did manage to make a form of indie rock that was something different from the glut of new wave revitalists. After a short, glistening instrumental track “Seconds”, the album kicks off with “Blood Meridian”, a vigourous track that highlights probably one of the reasons HOTS never took off: vocalist Sam Herlihy isn’t that good at singing. He gives it a fair whack, but I just wonder what the result would have been if the band had a vocalist who could let rip and give the songs an extra dose of energy. Other songs follow the same mo, “January” sounds beautiful but regretful at the same time. At times it’s confusing whether the band are in a positive or negative frame of mind, “The Good Fight” is uplifting and defiant and sounds great at the end with a achoir joining in the vocals. The album’s title track has a grand, orchestral sweep to it, but just lacks a bit of direction.
“This is a Question” is fairly simple, but heartfelt at the same time. “Forwardirecktion” and “Industry” are angrier and more forceful and show the band have some steel in them. In truth, there’s nothing as epic and as moving as “Black Dollar Bills” but I’m loathe to write the album off on the strength of a 4 year old song. Left is a strong album, but it’s easy to see why the band split afterwards. The suicide of guitarist Jimmy Lawrence would have knocked the steam out of any band, and it’s sign of strenght that they managed to release two albums, when even their first was in doubt. All in all, Left is a fitting epitaph but I’m left wondering too, at what might have been.
Hope of the States – the Blood Meridian: