Though it was admired by many, the debut album by Hope Of The States took on a style that wasn't palatable to all. Indeed, by mixing post-rock with anthemic rock, they basically mixed two genres which contradict each other; one portentous and lengthy whilst the latter relies on immediacy and suitability for singalongs. Taking this into account, 'Left' is far more direct; containing shorter tracks and low on the instrumental passages quotient.
'Blood Meridian', 'Sing It Out' and 'This Is A Question' go straight for the jugular with their no-holds barred approach. These are "proper" alternative rock songs; melancholic and defiant enough to please fans of their first album but with a conciseness that could potentially open up a new audience to them. Yet this supposed way forward is slightly tarnished by an apparent lack of variety. Almost every track here is driven by surging rock guitars and plenty of bluster but some of them lack a memorable hook or even a moment of considered reflection, which made 'The Lost Riots' such a worthwhile record. Nevertheless, both the title track and 'January' rank alongside their best songs for being powerful, moving and making the best use of Sam Herlihy's limited vocals (he can "do" anguished but little else). Yet overall, 'Left' finds Hope Of The States at a crossroads in their career and one can't help thinking that their first stab at fame was more original.