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5 out of 10
I want to like Hope & State. They know the value of a good ampersand - it really does look pretty good in a band name. So, well done Hope & State. But their EP, much like their band name, contains only small parts that are actually any good.
Yes, we get it Hope & State, London is a smoky town, and yes you can call it 'London town' if you really want to, but it's hardly the most original idea in the world is it? Plus, add together the fact that 75% of the song is utterly forgettable, and things haven't got off to a very good start. However, the breakdown in the song, at around 2 minutes in, almost saves it, even if the backing vocals sound like they were recorded in a sock.
Then we move on to At The Sight Of You and suddenly it seems as if 3 Doors Down have wandered into the studio and decided to record the vocals instead. Plus they seem to have insisted on placing the drums outside of the studio during the recording process so we can barely hear them above the trite lyrics.
I don't want to sit here taking each track apart, and it's lucky I don't have to, because for one, they all sound the same, and two, they all have the same problems. Leaving aside production issues, the lyrics are almost wholly terrible, and the songs are almost wholly bland and forgettable.
I say "almost" because Grand Gestures the song, almost saves Grand Gestures the EP. At least they attempt something a little bit different, and I think the move towards slightly heavier instrumentation suits them. Although the lyrics are still bad.
Probably not the best sign when the biggest compliment I give the band is about a punctuation mark in their name, but hey, a compliment is a compliment. I don't hate this EP, but I probably won't listen to it again either. However, I will be interested to see where they go next, because there are some signs that Hope & State have the capacity to improve.
1. London, Oh London
2. At The Sight Of You
3. The Ever True
4. Grand Gestures