Tuesday, August 29, 2006

No more Hope of the States


I first found out yesterday on Keep Hope Inside that Hope of the States had announced they wouldn't be playing live again. Given that the only other option would be to become a reclusive Boards of Canada–esque band of studio boffins, it was only inevitable that there was an announcement later yesterday that the band were indeed to split up. They were due to announce it onstage at their final gig at the Reading Festival last night.

No reason given for the split yet. There could be a whole host of reasons, but maybe their lack of commercial success was a factor. Sony had put a lot of money into them, and although they had a lot of critical acclaim, particularly for début album The Lost Riots, the record-buying public obviously weren't going much for their epic post-rock tunes.

I only saw them once – at the Barfly in early 2004, and was impressed. Unusually for me, here was a band that I think I'd have rather seen in a bigger venue – at least one that matched their ambitious sound and visuals. The only real problem I felt was Sam Herlihy's vocals – just a bit too weak to live happily alongside their robust sound. As a result their best tracks are probably the instrumentals, particularly the majestic The Black Amnesias which opened The Lost Riots, and which I don't think they ever fully matched. I just wish they had done more tracks like that, and I might have maintained more interest in the band. As it was, I bought their first album with great anticipation but didn't really play it that much. So when the follow-up Left was released earlier this year, I was only half-listening.

Herlihy is apparently forming another band. I wonder if he's going to sing in that one. Well, good luck to them all. Hopefully they can live up to the early promise of HOTS in whatever they're doing next.

Here's a few tracks for your remembrance. The aforementioned glory of The Black Amnesias, their first commercially available single Black Dollar Bills, another instrumental – Sts'ikel from that début single, and The Last Picture Show, a B-Side which was the highlight of that Barfly show and inexplicably not included on either of their albums. I wonder if the split will mean my hessian-wrapped limited-edition copy of Black Dollar Bills is worth more or less?

Download: Hope of the States – The Black Amnesias
Download: Hope of the States – Black Dollar Bills
Download: Hope of the States – Sts'ikel (demo)
Download: Hope of the States – The Last Picture Show

Buy The Lost Riots or Left

For more HOTS mp3s, head to The Halfway Home, which has in impressive list of rare or deleted tracks posted.

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