The second full-length-album by Hope Of The States has finally arrived. As I’ve mentioned a few times before, I’m very fond of their debut album, The Lost Riots. So my anticipation for that difficult second album was quite high. The first songs that popped up a few weeks ago (Blood Meridian and Under The Wires) left me quite content, and also the proper first single Sing It Out sounded great. So what about the rest?
First thing I noticed was that HOTS have managed to maintain their unique sound. You instantly know that it’s them. But on the other hand, there are a few new aspects to the new songs. But let’s start from the beginning:
Seconds is a nice intro, starting with a musical box and ending in lush strings, leading us to Blood Meridian. This is a classic HOTS-song with its distinctive chorus that you will remember as soon as you’ve heard it for the first time. Following up is Sing It Out, and this one is even catchier than its predecessor. Good choice for a single. Bonfires is a cracking rock track which leaves you tapping along, and with Good Fight, it gets a bit slower for the first time. This is one of the first epic tracks on this album, again with a great string section, and I’m 100% sure that this is going to be a real live favourite. Once you’ve passed the 3-minute-mark, you’ll know why!
Emergency, Emercency, Someone Acted Honestly. We Better String Them Up Tie Them Down, Never Let The News Get Out And Never Let It Happen Again.
Next up is the title song Left, again starting off slowly and leading – accompanied by a wonderful piano line – to another epic chorus. An instant favourite! Next song Industry sounds just like that; a dark-toned industrial track with guitars instead of synthies. With a running time of just under 3 minutes, it’s the shortest song on the album (if you ignore the intro). This Is A Question is another one of those HOTS-rock-tracks; straight-forward, but still with a certain twist. Excellent drumming here! The next epic comes in the shape of Little Silver Birds, which for me is the equivalent of Black Dollar Bills from The Lost Riots. That song was the one that got me hooked to Hope Of The States in the first place, and I guess Little Silver Birds would have had the same impact on me. This is widescreen music at its best!
Send Me Little Silver Birds To Keep The Promise That You Made, One Hundred Thousand Tiny Lights For All Of Us Who Feel The Same.
Four is another short one. It hasn’t got too much to offer on the first look, but it shows again the capability of HOTS to create sharp and edgy rock tunes. And the little string section is perfectly set. January is yet another great powerballad (I don’t seem to get enough of those), with once again excellent orchestral background. Somehow they manage to get so many strings into their songs, but still not letting them take over. Forwardirektion must be the second instant live classic on Left, with its catchy refrain and – again – nice strings. And then the time has come for the masterpiece: Church Choir starts off with Sam Herlihy singing as fragile as never before, led by a guitar strum standing in for a church bell. The song builds up slowly, adding piece after piece, before exploding into a beautiful chorus bringing it all together. What a great song to close the album!
The Saddest Songs, I Know Where They Come From. Those Sad Old Songs We Sing Always Mean Everything.
What I like about Hope Of The States is their ability to let their songs sound very dark and sinister, but in the same time transmit a positive feeling. They did it very well on The Lost Riots, and they repeat that on Left as well. The main difference between the two albums is the perfect use of lush orchestral sounds on the new one. The great thing about it is the fact that Hope Of The States know exactly when enough is enough and don’t overdue it, and that keeps them from drifting into shallowness. Left is a great collection of mature and well-crafted, modern rock songs that really deserve to be heard.
What You Want Yr Never Gonna Get Unless You Are Prepared To Be Alone. If You Think You’ve Got To Have It All You’ve Got To Be Prepared To Give It Up.
Many critics described Hope Of The States as the saviours of British Rock Music after releasing The Lost Riots two years ago. It’s good to see that they are still in perfect condition to take this quest further. Left is a more than worthy second album and has everything that fans of the band could have hoped for… and more! These guys have found their own distinctive style after only two albums, and I will be more than pleased if their story will continue for a long time!