Band finds success in 'Lost Riots'
Hope of the States
"The Lost Riots"
Hope of the States is as much Coldplay as it is Smashing Pumpkins, but mostly it is a whole lot of something completely original.
"The Lost Riots" is a stunning debut, compelling in its instrumental complexities and earnest lyrics.
The band's beautiful mix of overtly dramatic string break-downs coupled with emotionally and politically appealing lyrics creates an atmosphere that is artsy and accessible. Their music is a perfect blend of Euro-pop with punk attitude and movie-like soundscapes. From the first few notes of the intro, "The Black Amnesiac," it is hard not to be hooked. Foreshadowing guitars break into a full-on symphonic crescendo three times before the song is finished.
Sam Herlihy's voice sounds ragged and thin in comparison to the rich textures of the band behind him, which would normally be a glaring error in a band's make up. Hope of the States, though, miraculously uses the music to embrace the frailness of Herlihy's vocals to somehow make them seem rich.
"Then I found a broken heart, with dusty wheezing the thing won't start, I'll fix it up and watch it grow, and send it to a happy home/It don't take much to raise a smile, to push yourself the extra mile I'll stand with you when things go wrong/And lie and say it's not too long" sings Herlihy on "Enemies/Friends." This line from the verse coincides perfectly with his chorus croon of "All the money in the world won't save you, we're coming home/All the prisons that you build won't hold us back, just let us go."
While his lyrics stem from despondent topics, they possess ragged optimism. The listener gets the sense that Hope of the States has faith in the human race, but not in its governing bodies.
In addition to Herlihy's vocals and the lyrics, the instruments themselves make statements, from the drudging militant snare drums on "66 Sleepers to Summer" to the soaring violin and guitar solos. Walls of sound rise to almost intolerable levels of noise, only to crash down in a beautiful arrangement of raging drums, symphonic harmonies, blaring guitars, and a myriad of indeterminable instruments. Out of the rubble, the sounds begin to reorganize and build back up into fragile melodies.
This type of dynamic songwriting has been missing from the music scene. Thankfully, Hope of the States delivers it in almost every song. Their songs do not merely seek to create pleasing melodies and lyrics; they stir emotions.
From the deeply clever symbolism and allusions hidden in the lyrics to the weird atmospheric noises in the background to the countless tiny noises, the intricacies of this album are vibrant and exciting. "The Lost Riots" is exactly what rock music needs: intelligent music that leaves the listener reeling in its beauty. With each successive play, it only gets better.
Bryan Lund is a senior at Mayo High School. To respond to reviews in Sound &; Vision, call 252-1111, category TEEN (8336) or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.