Regular readers of Rockbeatstone will realise that I was very harsh on the band in my concert review of their Camden Koko gig a few weeks back. Again, I will reiterate what I originally said about the band – I believe that they have produced some of the most exciting and interesting music in a live context since 2000 but that the new material was poor. But I still half-expected the album to deliver the goods, maybe this was wishful thinking, maybe it was a selective memory, but for the milli-second that it took between closing the CD player and hitting play I was hoping for something amazing.
Unfortunately, I was wrong.
Yes, Hope of the States have delivered the commercially minded, unimaginative and clichéd album that I heard them perform on stage a few weeks ago. Plodding guitars and riff ridden rock – it sounds all too familiar and all too much like every other average indie band out there. The music in itself isn’t that bad, but I think I’ve finally understood why my teachers got so frustrated with my apparent lack of ambition, and inability to fulfil my potential. Left pretty much could be described in those terms.
While many may feel that I am being too critical or simply, that I don’t get it, the truth is that the band have been thinking long and hard about how to reach that nirvana that bands like Coldplay have created (ie: epic-ridden rock that appeals to the masses). Unfortunately, Hope of the States have tried too hard in this instance. Where previously their songs sent shivers down one’s spine due to the natural epic elements to them, on Left it sounds contrived, planned and achieves the opposite effect. It’s as if the band have been spending time hanging out with Embrace and that their repulsive brand of indie rock has rubbed off on them.
There are still some signs that the band will one day deliver brilliant songs. Yet these are merely glimpses of the band’s former self. It is as if the band have let their guard down and reverted to old ways while the manager or record label executive over-seeing the recording left the studio for a fag break. Songs such as ‘Bonfire’ and ‘Blood Meridian’ are the two examples here. One can hear the basis of some great musical moments – they just never quite reach them.
Otherwise the album has plodding indie rock written all over it. ‘Sing it Out’ is their first single from Left and sounds suspiciously as if the band have realised the recent popularity and attention that the Editors have been receiving. Overall, although it pains me to say this, Left is a poor album. Although there is nothing wrong in craving commercial success, the band would be better off sticking to their guns. Age, experience and a growing musical insight and experimentation ultimately will deliver this – cheap imitations of flavour of the month bands will not.