Album: Hope of the States

The Lost Riots, Sony
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The Independent Culture

The suicide of the guitarist Jimmi Lawrence just as Hope of the States were adding the finishing touches to their debut album has lent The Lost Riots a similar melancholy cachet to that which surrounded Joy Division's Closer, another album stained by suicide. In both cases, the gloomy circumstances are reflected in the Gothic darkness of the music, though where Closer seemed to offer a willing embrace of fate, The Lost Riots strives to surmount the darkness through a full-blooded, anthemic approach that's full of yearning. The opening instrumental, "The Black Amnesias", is typical, building swiftly from a quiet acoustic guitar intro to a soaring cathedral of fizzing electric guitars and violins that recalls the epic manner of Spiritualized or Doves, but in more of a hurry. And with more of a political sensibility, too, with an anti-American message in songs such as "Black Dollar Bills" and the bustling new single "The Red, the White, the Black, the Blue". But this densely layered type of music requires a high degree of precision to pull off properly, and when they don't quite nail it, the results can be as ponderous as Embrace. Thankfully, the strike rate is reasonably high throughout The Lost Riots, which is surely destined to join Keane atop the UK album chart.