When Hope of the States released their second album ‘Left‘ in 2006 I have to say I was disappointed!
After the epic, densely, layered, orchestral epic that was ‘The Lost Riots’ I could not get to grips with the more striped back and straight forward sound of ‘Left’, nor could I understand why they had chosen this path.
After a few listens & the frustration of not being able to get in to it I filed it & forgot about.
A few years later I dusted the album off and played it and my god was I shocked at what a solid, mature & warming album this was.
The album still contains Hope of the States ‘sad but hopeful’ feel by the hopefulness has decreased and has by replaced with a cynical bitterness & anger (to do with the apparent disagreements they had by Sony & being disillusioned with the music industry?).
When the first chorus you hear goes ‘Emergency, emergency, Someone acted honestly, We better string them up, tie them down, Never let the news get out, Never let it happen again’, it sort of sets the cynicism of the album.
By the halfway point they take a quick breather from this approach with ’The Good Fight’ which is typical Hope of the States sad but hopeful track, as the title track.
The track ‘Left’ opens with a tinkering piano followed closely with strings and then bursts in to life after a minute with an orchestral feel. It has you feeling a plethora of feelings and ultimately leaves you feeling upbeat and that all is good.
And so the album goes from the cynical ‘Industry’ and ‘This is a Questions’ and then the hopeful and moving ‘Little Silver Birds’ and then to the angry ‘Four’.
Like they are playing a game of ping pong with their emotions, back and forth they go and at the end of it you don’t know what you are supposed to be feeling, sad? Hopeful? Angry? Bitter? I still don’t know!
Making music for HoT’s was like playing with Lego, they would start with the green board and build it up layer by layer until they were left with a grand Lego castle, only to smash it down and start again on the following track.
This album is a beautifully crafted piece of work. Try and convert the Sistine chapel to music and you would be close to what we have on this album.
When the tracks are slow they are at their most beautiful and sensitive but when they are their most upbeat they are at their most cynical and angry but no less creative.
This is a band that I sorely miss to this day and it pains me to think about the master pieces they could have created in the future if they had been properly nurtured by their records label.
‘The Lost Riots’ and ‘Left’ should be in all music fans collections.