Hope Of The States were a post/indie rock band from Chichester, UK. The band formed out of teenage experiments by childhood friends, singer/songwriter Sam Herlihy, instrumentalist Anthony Theaker, and guitarist/vocalist James Lawrence, joined by drummer Simon Jones and violinist Mike Siddell as Hope of the States in 2000 while at university. Paul Wilson later joined as permanent bassist from 2002, and Michael Hibbert joined as guitarist after the death of Jimmi in 2004.
Adopting the name from Albert Deutsch's 1948 report on the US mental health system signalled a break with their earlier Mansun/Britpop pastiches in order to marry the hooks and songs to the kind of new post-rock sounds being made by groups like Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Herlihy had landed a development deal with Parlophone Records, giving the band an opportunity to explore expensive and expansive instrumentation & ultimately allowing haunting instrumental The American Revolution to see release in 2002 on Hermetech Records. The limited single Black Dollar Bills followed in 2003; it sold out quickly and gave the band slots at UK festivals as well as a multi-album deal with Sony & Columbia Records.
Preceded by the 2003 single Enemies/Friends, the album's release was postponed indefinitely following Jimmi Lawrence's studio suicide in January 2004; however, the group recorded and toured new experimental material as Thee Dust Rackets and bounced back four months later with album The Lost Riots and UK Top 15 single The Red The White The Black The Blue. Later, Nehemiah was released as another single, reaching #30. Fans who recieved copies of the Dust Rackets record at gigs were encouraged to share them with friends by post and keep them off the internet, allowing as many fans as possible to hear the series while building a strong community around them.
The band spent most of 2005 writing and demoing material for their second album, the vast majority of which was given to their fans in the form of more free 'Dust Rackets' albums and YouSendIt downloads, before returning to the studio with Ken Thomas to record Left. A limited edition EP, Blood Meridian, was released in April 2006. The followup single Sing It Out charted at #39 in the UK and new album Left was expected to gain a similar position. However, the album failed to make the UK top 40 amidst a lukewarm critical response, many of whom were disappointed that the band had moved away from the intense, post-rock stylings of their earlier material, though band members were equally annoyed that Sony Columbia released the main edition of the album in a chart-ineligible DualDisc format.
The band released their final single 'Left' on August 18th 2006, before breaking up later that week. They played their last gig on the 27th at the Reading and Leeds Festival.
Members of the band went on to join projects including ambient electronic/post rock Troubles, Sam's Autechre-influenced solo project 'Blocks, DJs CERN, work with fan groups Tim and Sam's Tim and the Sam Band With Tim And Sam and The Deirdres, Sons of Noel and Adrian and indie rock quintet-duo The Northwestern.
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