States Of Emotion

Death of Guitar Pop - Ska Is The Bollocks

Does exactly what it says on the tin. Oh, you want more, OK then!

Following last years terrific debut album '69 Candy Street', the former rock n rollers from States of Emotion members are back. Yet again, they're delivering another fine slice of pop music.

This story is part true, part tongue cheeck and all pop gold. Except for the use of the word 'bollocks' of course. That said, it is, this is, so no fake news here. It's a nailed on dance and singalong classic for their ever growing live audience.

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. 

States Of Emotion live @ The Underworld

States Of Emotion in large, played to a packed audience of loyal hometown followers from Essex at the Underworld. It’s a poignant moment for the band, their debut album has finally been released and based on this showing, they are set to far outrun their roots in terms of fans.

They open with the defiant ‘I Broke The Mould’ and the intimate venue suddenly feels like a big academy venue. It’s clear to see why Huw Stevens and John Kennedy are championing this single.

Defiance is key to States Of Emotion as a band and this gig. Crowd favourites ‘The Way That I’m Wired’ and ‘The Unsung’ are thrill seeking and recalcitrant to the core. They also offer a sense of ambition which, many profess but few deliver in the indie world.

Amid the anthems comes a resounding gear change with ‘Rag n Bone Men’. This diversion combines a more desolate electronic sound with some more familiar psyche guitar parts. A tough sell amongst fine indie bangers but, from the moment frontman Olly Hookings laments his former label Rinse FM, a sense of anticipation is in the air. The slow building number hits a heavenly crescendo and the audience are eating out the palm of his hands.

The desire to make this succeed is bursting from States Of Emotion so much during this gig it seems almost impossible not to imagine bigger venues awaiting them in the future. 

States Of Emotion - Rag n Bone Men EP


Its been a long time coming but States Of Emotion release their debut album 'Black & White To Gold' next month. To whet the appetite, they have released 'Rag n Bone Men', a free 5 track EP.

Here is our track by track analysis:

I Broke The Mould

This opener is brimming full of confidence and attitude. The strings and crashing drums give this a menacing impetus. The guitar parts and the breakdown towards the end are steeped in desperation and determination for success. There is a trippy element to them akin to Noel Gallagher's 'Stop The Clocks' but with more intensity.

Rag n Bone Men

This is by far the most interesting piece on the EP. It is a real gear change for the band who had been paving their way with indie anthems up until now.

Desolate Drum loops, short blasts of psyche on the guitars and distant vocals move away from their defiant rock n roll towards the sounds of Hurts and Bipolar Sunshine. That fall to floor rock n roll attitude is forever lurking though. Their is a sense that this measured approach could descend into chaos at any moment which, is equally exciting as those all guitar efforts.

Black and White to Gold

What will be the title track of their debut album showcases band leader Olly Hookings' vocal abilities. The emotion he conveys is reminiscent of Sam Duckworth's early Get Cape work. Again though, its more intense than their peers. There is a real sense this is everything to Hookings, that this album has to be a success.

For a band who haven't done anything of note yet, one assumes the budget was minimal. This only makes the use of strings on this track more impressive. They are not here to provide the big single which their career is made off. No, they are haunting and create a mood of uneasiness which is risky for a fledgling band but, the greater the risk the bigger the reward.

The Unsung

Long time fans will know 'The Unsung' well. They self-released it back in 2010 and had long time friend James Buckley in the video.

Despite being an older track, it still resonates. This is the song which defines who States Of Emotion are and what they are about. The euphoric and fist in the air chorus of 'We are the unsung' is soon to lure the big following of The Rifles to their cause on their February support slot tour.

The guitars and the backing vocals are hypnotic from start to finish. We said it back in 2010 and we will repeat it now. This should be a staple of any indie disco. It's a fiery and infectious anthem!

Rag n Bone Men (Draig Cavid Remix)

Last up is a Draig Cavid remix of the title track 'Rag n Bone Men'.