James Lawrence

Guitarist with the up-and-coming band Hope of the States

James Lawrence, guitarist: born Chichester, West Sussex 25 January 1977; died Box, Wiltshire 15 January 2004.

Hope of the States, for whom James Lawrence played guitar, was one of a new generation of British bands rekindling a sort of musical ambition reminiscent of the previously discredited prog-rock of the early 1970s, combined with the political, passionate commitment of punk.

Inspired by a series of late 1990s sonic adventurers - the doomy grandeur of Radiohead and Spiritualised, the neo-psychedelia of America's Mercury Rev and the Flaming Lips, and the haunting, post-rock political diatribes of Canada's Godspeed You Black Emperor! - the band joined young compatriots like Elbow and Muse in trying to throw off Britpop's musically retrograde legacy. As their singer Sam Herlihy noted:

At the tail-end of Britpop . . . there was a weird atmosphere of people grasping at straws without having anything to believe. I'd like to think that maybe [our records] will be the start of something else. A kickstart.

Jimmi Lawrence was born in Chichester in 1977 and attended Chichester High School for Boys, where he met Herlihy and Ant Theaker. The three of them went on to form the early core of Hope of the States, with the current line-up established in 2002. The bands's promise was apparent when they self-released the slow-building, eight-minute single "Black Dollar Bills". Sony signed them on the strength of it in 2003, after a fierce bidding war. The major-label reissue of "Black Dollar Bills" gained minor notoriety when its video was banned by MTV2 during the second Gulf War, for "politically inappropriate", animated images of B52 bombers.

Military uniforms and apocalyptic footage of devastated wastelands also featured in their intense live shows, in which Lawrence's guitar interweaved with organs and violin.

When their second single, "Enemies; Friends" entered the Top Thirty last October, leading to a Top of the Pops appearance, their momentum was quietly maintained. Ken Thomas, producer of the atmospheric Icelanders Sigur Ros, collaborated on their début album, which was recorded in locations typically chosen to avoid, in Herlihy's words, the "ghosts" of earlier groups: a freezing Russian bunker, an isolated Irish farmhouse, and Peter Gabriel's Real World studios, near Bath. The album was due to be completed next week, and released in the spring, with a single and gig both scheduled for February. In a feature in last week's NME, which anticipated "one of the albums of 2004", Herlihy talked buoyantly of the band's prospects:

The isolation is really good . . . This might be the only record we'll ever make, so we wanted to put a bit of romance into it, some Napoleonic folly.

Lawrence apparently committed suicide at Real World studios early on Thursday morning.

Nick Hasted

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Games Developer - HTML5

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With extensive experience and a...

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£26000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Product Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Due to on-going expansion, this leading provid...

Recruitment Genius: Shift Leaders - Front of House Staff - Full Time and Part Time

£6 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a family ...

Day In a Page

A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms
What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist? Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories

What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist?

Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories
Chinese web dissenters using coded language to dodge censorship filters and vent frustration at government

Are you a 50-center?

Decoding the Chinese web dissenters
The Beatles film Help, released 50 years ago, signalled the birth of the 'metrosexual' man

Help signalled birth of 'metrosexual' man

The Beatles' moptop haircuts and dandified fashion introduced a new style for the modern Englishman, says Martin King
Hollywood's new diet: Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?

Hollywood's new diet trends

Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?
6 best recipe files

6 best recipe files

Get organised like a Bake Off champion and put all your show-stopping recipes in one place
Ashes 2015: Steven Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Middlesex bowler claims Ashes hat-trick of Clarke, Voges and Marsh
Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Atwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works