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Laughing Apple - Laughing Apple/Biff Bang Pow

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 19 / 2 / 2009

Laughing Apple - Laughing Apple/Biff Bang Pow


Anthony Strutt profiles the career of Alan McGee's 80's bands the Laughing Apple and Biff Bang Pow !, who have had singles recently re-released on Edition 59, the offshoot of German label Vollwert Records

Edition 59 is an offshoot of the German label Vollwert Records and specialises in repressing long out-of-print records from the early 80s that need more ears to treasure them. Each of its three inch cds are limited to a mere 59 copies only. Two of its most recent releases have been the Laughing Apple's 'The Ha Ha Hee Hee EP'from 1981 and Biff Bang Pow's 1983 first single 'Fifty Years of Fun'. Both the Laughing Apple and Biff Bang Pow!were bands of Creation Records owner and boss Alan McGee. The Laughing Apple only released three 7 inches of plastic, their debut release 'The Ha Ha Hee Hee EP' ; 'Participate!', which has a sleeve drawn by Bobby Gillespie, and the Joy Division-influenced 'Precious Feeling'. These were all released on the Autonomy and Essential labels in 1981 and 1982. The Laughing Apple consisted of Andrew Innes, later of the Revolving Paint Dream, and Primal Scream on guitar ; McGee pre Creation Records on bass and vocals and Mark Jardim on drums. All three records sound today very much of their time, but to my old ears they hold a very special place, A very dear place called our youths when we were full of fire, passion and energy and things could be changed. All started by the energy that was begun by the Sex Pistols and punk rock. The Laughing Apple's debut was the only EP written by both McGee and Innes. The first track, 'Sometimes I Wish', has a great edgy bass line, while some guest keyboards have a fine late 70s feel. Its sound is very primitive, especially by today's standards, but very special as a result of that. McGee's vocal is crisp and comes over like Robert Smith of the Cure on their debut album, 'Three Imaginary Boys'. A mid song instrumental jam sounds like a fight for all, but to my ears this shows true spirit and a way of getting your instrument heard in great fashion. It is a very fine example of the time it was created. 'Chips for Tea', which like 'Sometimes I Wish' is an Andrew Innes-penned track, is very new wave and has a vocal from McGee that demands to be heard. It comes over with enough grit and spit to please any punk of then or even now. 'Upstairs, Downstairs' is penned by McGee and is named in tribute to the soap opera of the 70s about the members of a large townhouse in Edwardian London. This track is more experimental recalling early second generation Merseybeat bands such as the Teardrop Explodes or early OMD. This shows the true spirit of the times yet again. 'I'm OK' finishes the EP. Another Andrew Innes song, it runs like a runaway horse, with cool synth pop keyboards and simple guitars that are nevertheless totally credible. Biff, Bang, Pow! were named after a song by the Creation, whom Alan also named Creation Records after.In the mid 90s, I got to know Kenny Pickett of The Creation a little. I also attended his funeral in 1997 as well, which was a very sad day. I felt, even though, I spent just one night talking to him at the bar at the Bull and Gate in London that he was a true gentlemen, as well as a true 1960s artist that changed English music forever. Biff, Bang, Pow! like their main influence were more 1960s based. 'Fifty Years of Fun', which was released on Creation Records (CRE 003 to be precise) is a fiery fist of jangly guitars that recalls The Byrds and the Searchers. Alan McGee is as young and angry as we were in those days, a true anthem for those times indeed. 'Then When I Scream', the B side, out does the Inspiral Carpets by ten years in its retroness. It trips along the mid to late 60s era with its Doors-like keyboards and Rickenbacker guitars which dream of Southern California and the Chocolate Watchband. Perfect to my ears ! A slice of history indeed.

Picture Gallery:-
Laughing Apple - Laughing Apple/Biff Bang Pow

Laughing Apple - Laughing Apple/Biff Bang Pow

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