States Of Emotion - Black & White to Gold

Do not underestimate how much blood sweat and tears went into this album. Record labels are not interested bands right now, the ones that are, have no money and the one that did show interest, treated the Essex outfit poorly. If there is a game to be played in life, States of Emotion have already won it. 

‘Black & White To Gold’ for the most part, is a rare gift which delivers so many avenues of joy. Where it doesn’t however, are valiant attempts to achieve big rock n roll epics. 'Inside Out' is one such instance, it throws bombs from the opening bell but none of which land that clean shot. Nevertheless, in the context of this album, you can see why they went for it, its in there locker and one day, it will be theirs.   

‘Back To Back’ and ‘Seeking Oblivion’ are great places to start for any newcomers to the band. ‘Back To Back’ slowly builds an escapist and slightly warped indie anthem which, when in the final moments packs so much heart and soul, the desire to change life for the better will coarse through your veins. 

‘Seeking Oblivion’ takes the great early work of the Editors and combines it a unique pacing style to lift it beyond their peers. The rasping drums and firing guitars come at you in sporadic assaults and, without any warning just fall away like a dubstep record into a breakdown. Once the element of surprise of these moments has passed, the anticipation of the tempo quickening becomes enthralling.  

Taking themselves further away from their indie roots is ‘Rag n Bone Men’. The desolate drum loops combine with short blasts of guitar psyche to produce a truly defiant and free spirited record. To take their own image and shove an alternative one so good right in your faces is a glorious act of rock n roll rebellion.  

The album is not without its moments pop music either. ‘Lena’ has guitar riffs and parts of sublime beauty. The bubblegum pop nature of the verses are so romantic and infectious, daytime radio should be clambering after this.  

Yet again, band leader Olly Hookings has conjured a character which offers hope and a desire to something. So few bands have this ambition or affect now. There seems to be an apathy now that BBC6 heeds a career for bands. For States of Emotion, there is a purity oozing from them that this is a vocation. It was this or die and that, that is what is truly beautiful about them.  

The pop sensibilities keep coming with ‘She Cuts Shapes’. In essence it’s a indie standard but, the production and backing vocals are so free flowing and soul cleansing bedroom dancing is inevitable. Lyrically, this is straight out of the Jarvis league of brilliance as Hookings tells the tale of a of young enigmatic female tearing up the dance floor on drugs. 

As mentioned earlier, this is an album which can only make young folk want to be in a band. There appears to be a case that Noel Gallagher had this affect on the band. 'Black & White To Gold' is that rare thing which replicates the heart and soul of Gallagher's work which is overlooked for the bravado and soundbites. The juxtaposition of sun drenched escapism and melancholy combine regularly here and will leave you feeling inspired and nostalgic simultaneously.   

The ability to stir creativity in others is what this record should be remembered for. For the first time in a long time, a band has transcended the greedy and spiteful age we live in. Thank you States of Emotion.