The Northwestern - Ghostrock
For alot of music lovers, it was a dark day when Hope Of The States confirmed their split in 2006. With their albums "The Lost Riots" and "Left", they had subconsciously taken an MTV2 friendly indie sound that had been done to death and made it interesting, grandiose and for most part interesting. Hope Of The States were epic, often backed by choir vocals and orchaestral instruments whilst led by the political and emotional angst of Sam Herlihy's lyrics that made Hope Of The States so inspiring. So when Hope Of The States confirmed their split in 2006, it was for me as a music lover, a huge loss to a British music scene that seemed on the up at that point(with the success of bands like The Cooper Temple Clause and the continuing success of The Coral, etc).
Luckily for me and other Hope Of The States fans, 2009 sees the entrance of The Northwestern and their debut EP "Ghostrock". Fronted by Sam Herlihy with the backing rhythm of former Hope Of The States drummer Simon Jones, The Northwestern are much like you would expect them to be. Vocally and lyrically they sound very much like Hope Of The States and opening track "What Did I Do" confirms this with lines like 'I went to church once to get some answers but Jesus he had nothing to say, he's got his reasons, I'msure he's got his reasons but I won't bother again', very much business as usual with trumpets hounding the chord sequences in the chorus. Where The Northwestern do differ however, is in their guitar work. Once again "What Did I Do" marks as the best example of this, with a gloriously dirty guitar hook scything through the middle eight just when you thought you were listening to Hope Of The States. Follow up track "Ghosts On Vhs" also shows difference even from "What Did I Do" with a mainstream MTV2 friendly sound brilliantly underpinned by a wonderful guitar melody on the chorus that I quite frankly expect to hear in an advert soon. "House Of Bees" is probably the most understated song on "Ghostrock" relying heavily on an organ and Herlihy's original vocals which at times on this track, resemble Chris Martin of Coldplay but not in a bad way.
Basically, if you liked Hope Of The States, you will like The Northwestern. If you liked Hope Of The States but found them abit samey, you'll find that you'll like The Northwestern that bit more. Ultimately, "Ghostrock" is the sound of a band whos musicians have learnt from the past and used that to push their music to the next level. Now all they have to do is make a full length.