Simultaneously ethereal and angry, they're a violin bow strung across raw emotions...
The champagne’s on ice and tonight the Chichester boys are ready to
celebrate. Single ‘Enemies/Friends’ has gatecrashed the Top 30 and next Friday night, the nation will look up from their tea to see [a]Hope Of The States[/a] and their orchestral post-rock swooning on Top Of The Pops. Which is great, obviously.
First, though, there’s a rainy night in Glasgow to navigate, along with an oddly
reverential audience who stand rapt in an awed silence. Frontman Sam Herlihy seems frustrated by the apparently undemonstrative crowd, exacerbated by an inability to hear himself through the monitors. But from the front onwards [a]Hope Of The States[/a] are blinding as they saw frenziedly through opener ‘Black
Amnesia’, twisting and writhing over guitars, wrapping their bodies around
the feedback storm.
They play with charming, cockiness-free confidence: when Herlihy throws a
hissy fit, an apology swiftly follows. The six Statesmen swap spaces on the stage and flit between instruments, shifting in the low red light while films flicker and dance, an extension of the band rather than backdrop.
Attention-grabbing and insistent, every note chimes into place as their majestic noise sweeps and dips and soars, never losing sight of the hook and the melody. ‘George Washington’ marches like a troupe of naughty majorettes, the gently tearful keyboard of ‘Don’t Go To Pieces’ slams into a brick wall of guitars. Simultaneously ethereal and angry, they’re a violin bow strung across raw emotions.
No surprises that ‘Enemies/Friends’ closes the set, and though it seems a muted triumph for the band, the audience stand rooted, cheering and whooping for a good 10 minutes in the dark after they leave the stage. But [a]Hope Of The States[/a] are already off, marching towards ‘Top Of The Pops’ and
readying their assault on the future.