Hope Of the States: Left

Sam Herlihy and co strive to keep it simple, with varying results

Hope Of The States seem to be running twice as fast as other bands. Skipping straight past the barely-refined-demos stage, the Chichester combo revealed a fully-formed post-rock landscape on 2004’s debut ‘The Lost Riots’. Two years on, and in keeping with HOTS’ stated desire to “shrink everything down”, ‘Left’ is a leaner work then its predecessor – and one in which the wide-eyed enchantment is restricted to just a handful of tracks.

The fact they’ve taken their foot off the accelerator is understandable given guitarist Jimmi Lawrence’s suicide just before the release of ‘…Riots’, but as ‘This Is A Question’ rushes along and ‘Bonfires’ bludgeons home its point, the band are left sounding like their wings have been clipped.

When HOTS occasionally do soar, however, they reach new highs: ‘Industry’ is a hypnotically pulsating tirade against the humdrum, ‘The Good Fight’ blends God Speed! You Back Emperor with a pub sing-a-long and ‘The Church Choir’’s wall of sound is pure, uncontained widescreen. Noble and determined, ‘Left’ proves that while HOTS are capable of stirring thoughts and emotions, it’s only when they reach full throttle that they truly move hearts and minds.

Paul Stokes