Jeff Carrigan's paean to the fickle ways of a boy's cuddly toys was actually one of his more direct lyrics. Recorded at Polygram Studios on Stanhope Place, in August 1982, with Paul Weller producing. This mix is absent the toy synthesizer sound that ended up on the 7". LISTEN.
Tony Fletcher's typically wordy teen protest was written, as per the lyrics, after "sitting up talking till 4" following a Jamming! magazine/Apocalypse gig at the Africa Centre that lost more money than he owned. Somewhere in the two months between recording a demo at Ariwa with Mad Professor, and the single session, the melody was changed and, at Paul Weller's advice, the clichéd lyrics of the middle eight removed. They were replaced by Kevin Bagnall's blistering three-part trumpet line. Tony Page sings enough words to fill a book without once mentioning the title. LISTEN.
HOME OF THE BRAVE
A long forgotten single by Bonnie & The Treasures, written by husband and wife team Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil (who also wrote 'You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling.') Fletch seized on this song as a suitable cover in early 1981, not knowing he would eventually live in the 'Land of The Free.' The production, by Dale Griffin and Overend Watts and Apocalypse, at Putney's Bridge Studios in November 1982, may not rival Phil Spector's Wall of Sound, but there's a definite charm to Page and Carrigan's overlapped vocals, and Fletch remains proud of the retro fade. LISTEN.
GOING UP IN THE WORLD
Always the Apocalypse 'anthem', written by Tony after the original trio sat their 'O' Levels and promptly left school to join the scrapheap. Frustrated that it was commonly compared to a Jam number one single of similar title released the same year, Fletch worked up the arrangement to epic proportions until this 1983 demo caught it complete with strings, backing singers, and brass sections. Later yet further over-produced for debut EMI single. LISTEN.
THE OTHER SIDE OF MIDNIGHT
Carrigan could do Spector as well as his band mate. From the same mid-1983 demo session, this powerful ballad also suggested another side of Apocalypse, one never fully explored. Chris Boyle shows his affection for the reggae beat, Albae and Sylvie come on strong with the backing vocals, and Tony F. tinkles enthusiastically on the piano. Asked to explain the song for this compilation, Jeff mumbled something about a video he had shot in a church at t hetime but could no longer understand. LISTEN
NOBODY BUT ME
Recorded at The Point in Victoria in February 1982, this was Tony Page's first lead vocal recording, and Kevin's first session on the trumpet. The lyrics are as hackneyed as you'd expect from a 17-year old, but the key changes through the choruses suggested that Fletch had at least been studying his power pop singles. LISTEN.
Apocalypse progressed too quickly for their own good. Only a year after the Point demos, Jeff was into jazz-funk, and this defiant groover, recorded at Wave Studios in Old Street, reveals the direction he would lead the band in. Jeff plays guitar, bass, sings lead and arranged the whole song. He's not sure what it means. LISTEN.
Fletcher's one and only love song written after getting painfully dumped by his first infatuation (as she described it). To celebrate his commitment to the lyrical cliché, he used every arrangement trick he had ever come across. As sung by Tony Page, and with cracking harmonies by Jeff, this version was recorded in two hours and came in not much longer than two minutes. LISTEN.
OPEN YOUR EYES
Inspired equally by 'The Message' and 'Wham! Rap,' though less successful both commercially and artistically. Pagey does his best to fit Fletch's words into the allotted space. Recorded at The Wave studios in 1983, "between record deals," as they say in the biz. LISTEN.
The song with which Apocalypse emerged from the shadow of their influences in 1981, and with which they closed the set forever after. Opening with the reggae beat that was a regular part of their South London teenage lives, and featuring Jeff's most poignant lyrics, about the teenage cliques and cult violence that were an equally permanent aspect of life in London. From The Point session in February 1982, with Tony F. playing Hammond Organ and bass. Complete with proper dub drop-outs, and with reggae master Chris Boyle deliberately speeding up furiously towards the eight-minute conclusion. LISTEN
A re-recording of the 7" single, with Dale Griffin and Overend Watts co-producing at The Bridge in 1982. The song had taken on jazzy-dub overtones as the group developed it live, and Weller gave the blessing for the re-recording. He may not have been so pleased when the band printed, on the 12" sleeve, "This version replaces the original, which we no longer happy with" (sic). Funding for the Jamming! label was withdrawn soon after. LISTEN
GOING UP IN THE WORLD (demo)
From The Point session of February 1982, this version lacks the bells and whistles of the later recordings, is longer (with an extra verse), and has a slightly different melody - but there's a charm to its simplicity that catches the intent of its lyrics. Tony Page harmonises with himself in the verse; Jeff comes in as voice of authority in the bridge; the two deliver call-and-response in the chorus. The only song on this album not to feature Kevin, who had joined only weeks earlier. LISTEN
Shortly after Tony P. and Kevin joined, Apocalypse began incorporating percussive funk into their mod-punk-reggae-ska. 'People' opened the set more often than not, and frequently even inspired the crowd to dance. This recording at The Mad Professor's Ariwa Studios in Peckham displays a keen Pigbag influence. In wildly different form, 'People' would later replace Going Up In The World as the group's first and last - single on EMI. LISTEN
In early Apocalypse days, Jeff wrote many songs about religion. This one survived to the end, its hymnal feeling rendered roots style on this occasion by The Mad Professor. LISTEN
DON'T STOP 2005
For contractual reasons, none of the EMI recordings made it to this album. But there was no other version available of 'Don't Stop,' which had been released sounding like Madness and Dexys in impressively furious battle with each other - on the Jamming! magazine album A New Optimism For The Eighties, and the lyrics seemed especially relevant to the group's past and present. Proving that time heals old wounds, Jeff Carrigan suggested the group re-record a verse or two of Fletcher's song to accompany a video he then offered to compile from old live footage. Nervously accepting the challenge from across the Atlantic (he now lives in New York), Tony Fletcher slowed the song from 160 to 120bpm, recorded his grand piano onto the Apple Mac's Garageland software and sent a file over to London. Jeff then visited Tony Page on the south coast to record the vocals, and booked the group's old Alaska rehearsal studios at the Elephant for Kevin Bagnall to record trumpet, and Beverley-born Pascal Wyse to add trombone. (Sadly, Chris Boyle could not be found.) With the former members' kids now replacing the girl backing singers on the chorus, the Garageband file returned to the States, where Fletcher added strings, Hammond organ, electric guitar, his own son's voice - and acoustic guitar played by another South London expat, Geoffrey Armes. Fletcher and Carrigan each recorded radio broadcasts from their respective countries around the New Year, and the Garageband file flew back over to London for a final mix by Jeff, who had by now assembled the video. Somewhere in the middle of all this, Tony and Jeff stopped communicating by e-mail and, after a 20-year silence, picked up the phone and resumed direct talks. Almost thirty years after meeting at the school gates, they are thrilled to have finally completed an Apocalypse album. WATCH
Notes by David Hunt.
All songs by Carrigan-Fletcher (Alley Cat Music/Copyright Control) except 'Home Of The Brave' by Mann/Weill (ScreenGems-EMI Music Ltd).