Hope Of The States Left

The odds were always stacked against them, and just as they released this, their second album, Chichester, England’s Hope of the States surrendered. Playing their final gigs at the Reading and Leeds festivals in August, the band no doubt lost some clout when guitarist James Lawrence committed suicide just before their released their debut album, The Lost Riots in 2004. Left actually comes busting out of the gates with "Blood Meridian,” which is an immediate shift into first gear compared to their epic post-rockin’ debut. "Sing It Out” even kicks into a likeable disco beat, but that’s not what these guys do best. It was the slow-burning, larger-than-life anthems that made them such a hot commodity, and Left sounds like a band grasping for straws, trying to come up with some kind of fresh perspective. This results in a dependence on Sam Herlihy’s feeble voice, which was always their Achilles’ heel. "The Good Fight” only suffers because of the vocals; one of the better examples of their capability, it busts out into an all-men’s choir sing-along that would ordinarily sound cheesy, but knowing their circumstances, it’s a significant move. HOTS knew we didn’t need another Doves in our lives, and maybe that’s what ultimately got to them. Either way, Left sounds like a band trying to keep it together through uplifting songs, but instead faking happiness was their downfall. (Sony BMG)