Hope of the States, Scala, London

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Perhaps it was only a matter of time before the underground oceans of sound that have been roaring through the music of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mogwai and their ilk over the past decade should find the mainstream. Hope of the States, who entered the charts at No 11 last week with their single "The Red, the White, the Black, the Blue", are six lads from Chichester who, aided by two projectionists, generate a maelstrom of explosive guitar bursts, piercing violin and earthily sung vocals, all to a superbly orchestrated backdrop of Second World War, South Korean and Vietnam War footage, American nationalist iconography styled a la Jasper Johns, vertiginous Hitchcock- and Kubrik- inspired psychedelia, and sublimely naïve cartoons.

Perhaps it was only a matter of time before the underground oceans of sound that have been roaring through the music of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mogwai and their ilk over the past decade should find the mainstream. Hope of the States, who entered the charts at No 11 last week with their single "The Red, the White, the Black, the Blue", are six lads from Chichester who, aided by two projectionists, generate a maelstrom of explosive guitar bursts, piercing violin and earthily sung vocals, all to a superbly orchestrated backdrop of Second World War, South Korean and Vietnam War footage, American nationalist iconography styled a la Jasper Johns, vertiginous Hitchcock- and Kubrik- inspired psychedelia, and sublimely naïve cartoons.

The sound has also found a singing voice in Hope of the State's vocalist Sam Herlihy; all cigarettes and boyish smiles, he wails and whines his anthemic shanties with the gravelly tones of a salty sea dog. Indeed, with their striped T-shirts, ratty hair and ruddy faces, the band look like washed-up sailors back from oblivion. And perhaps this is something more than a look: in January, their guitarist Jimmi Lawrence committed suicide in the studio while the band was in the latter stages of recording their debut album, The Lost Riots.

This loss was registered in the band's opening chorus of "Auld Lang Syne" and in Herlihy's search for "the happy people" in the crowd. A disarming instrumental piece introduced the much-awaited material from their first album. Lead guitarist, Anthony Teaker, and violinist, Mike Siddell, cut through the wake of sound. As is the case with many avant-noise bands, they could perhaps do with some more variation in texture and dynamics - though in case we were dumbfounded by the sonar assault, the band concluded by dropping their instruments and inviting their friends to sing a rousing chant ("We are the hopeless mistakes: side by side/ Once more the broken hearted: side by side").

Hope of the States confirmed with this live performance that they have a winning brew of laddish art: they distil the alt-folk and soundscape traditions showcased at this March and April's All Tomorrow's Parties festival into one band. Then add in the lead singer's emulation of the voice of Liam Gallagher. Going back further, the combination of war imagery and psychedelic sounds is, scarily, reminiscent of Pink Floyd.

If this sounds a bit disturbing, then perhaps it will be. But, somewhere, lost a little in the white noise, is a rallying call for friendship and sanity amid a cynical and burnt-out, post-September 11 landscape.

Could it be an aesthetic expression of the overdue politicisation of the youthful masses, or is it just a deceptive mirage, or simply the breathtaking effect of the projections on the wall?

Touring to 14 July

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