Hope Of The States – Left (2006): Review


Produced by Ken Thomas
Label – Columbia

Following an excellent set at 2006s Reading Festival, Chichester’s Hope Of The States announced that the audience was watching the final live performance from the band. Within days the news was confirmed via the band website that Hope Of The States had decided to split, causing a swell of disgruntled letters to both the site and weekly Rock magazine NME. So the review for their sophomore album “Left” becomes a kind of musical obituary for a 6 piece that promised much, but ultimately failed to deliver. Much was expected from Columbia Records and possibly the failure to deliver may have had a bearing on the bands’ decision to jump before pushed. This sadly left the album un-promoted, un-marketed and obviously underperformed, just a few weeks after release. Their post Joy Division reflections would be consigned to the bargain bins, and another potentially uplifting and powerful band was dissolved.


When Hope Of The States got it right they were as emotionally charged and energized as many of their contemporaries, particularly on the up tempo numbers. “Sing It Out” is one of the best singles of the year, rousing and majestic drawing a comparison with both Interpol and Editors at their best. So too “Blood Meridian” and “Bonfires” which hark back to the successful sounds of their exciting debut “Lost Riots”. Where they miss the mark is on the dirge ballads where the lack of melodic resource and a counter action by using faux dramatics, simply leaves the listener cold. The title track “Left” and “The Church Choir” are particular examples of a band trying to match Radiohead and Coldplay’s emotive balladeering, but ultimately falling short due to stereotypical arrangements, and melodies hampered by over production. Hope Of The States were always at their best when they thundered through their material, and “Left” is about half an album of glorious thunder.

As a parting shot, “Left” catalogues a band whose major league expectations limited their individual development.


Track Listing
1.”Seconds” – 1:52
2.”Blood Meridian” – 4:04
3.”Sing It Out” – 3:14
4.”Bonfires” – 4:24
5.”The Good Fight” – 4:19
6.”Left” – 5:26
7.”Industry” – 2:25
8.”This Is A Question” – 3:35
9.”Little Silver Birds” – 4:26
10.”Four” – 3:09
11.”January” – 4:48
12.”Forwardirektion:” – 3:19
13.”The Church Choir” – 6:53

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