Hope Of The States: Blood Meridian EP

Chichester’s finest: both big and clever

Self-conscious but still revelling in their own self-importance, prone to meaningless soundbites expressing bewilderment at world events, clinging to credibility via association: yup, Chantelle’s tawdry efforts to “live the dream” will surely soon result in an abrupt wake- up call. Hope Of The States, however provide a different proposition. Having seen the operatic art-rock of 2004’s ‘The Lost Riots’ go down about as well as a bare flame at a Towers Of London hairstyling session, Sam Herlihy and company have taken stock and decided to take drastic measures.

Gone is the Napoleonic self-absorption and clasutrophobic string-laden arrangements and in their place on ‘Blood Meridian’ comes a pulverising rock sensibility. The politicised polemic of yore is still there, but crucially it comes with new found self-awareness. “There’s quiet on the streets today/I think I know what’s going on”, sighs Sam, curiously reminiscent of Bernard Sumner, “but I’m too scared to say in case I’ve got it wrong/And I’ve made a bad mistake”. The band meanwhile pound into a doom-laden throb which will send shivers down the spine of everyone from Interpol to Editors, and which brings to mind, inevitably, those other redeemed souls, the Manics.

Having tackled their demons with ‘The Lost Riots’ – with its inevitable comparisons to ‘The Holy Bible’ – ‘Blood Meridian’ serves as proof that they are finally set to reap their reward. “Stand up for the put upon/The worried and the anxious”, croons Sam at the close. For those appalled at the downward slide into trash culture, fresh hope.