I’m able to bring this to you today, thanks to it having been part of the latest series of re-releases by Optic Nerve Recordings, a label specialising in offering up vinyl copies of long-lost or difficult to find singles, of an indie-bent, from the 80s and 90s.

The Wake were formed in Glasgow in 1981 by Gerard McInulty (aka Caesar), on guitar and vocals, Steven Allen on drums and Joe Donnelly as bassist. Previously Caesar had played with Altered Images, and was responsible for the superb Dead Pop Stars, but he left prior to the band enjoying chart success with Happy Birthday.

To begin with, nobody paid much attention to The Wake which led to the trio deciding, in 1982, to record a self-financed debut single on their own label, Scan 45 for which they roped in a friend, Robert Gillespie, to play on keyboards.

mp3: The Wake – On Our Honeymoon

Shortly afterwards, Joe Donnelly decided to leave and the now Bobby Gillespie took on bass guitar duties, with Carolyn Allen (sister of Steven) joining as the keyboard player.

The debut single and a demo tape found it way to Rob Gretton, who got the band down to Strawberry Studios in Stockport to record some material for a possible release on Factory Records.

The result was a seven-track LP, Harmony, issued in October 1982 with the catalogue number of FAC 60. It was the following year when I first really became aware of The Wake, thanks to them supporting New Order on a short tour across Scotland, during which I got to three of the gigs.  Later in the year, Bobby Gillespie would take his leave of the band, turning up next as drummer with Jesus and Mary Chain, being replaced by Alex McPherson.

The Wake would depart from Factory in 1988 and later releases would be on Sarah Records through to 1995, although the band was primarily now just Caesar and the Allen siblings, augmented on record by guest musicians.

The end of Sarah Records meant the end of The Wake, but they reformed in 2009 with new material emerging in 2012.

Going back to the debut single, it has long been out of print and copies tend to fetch £40-£60 on the second-hand market.  The Optic Nerve version is on white vinyl, for less than a tenner (plus postage), and comes with a poster and postcard.

mp3: The Wake – Give Up

Two tracks of their time, but sort of timeless, if you know what I mean.



  1. They also teased a new album c.2001, it never appeared but the material was rescued for their two-album collaboration with Bobby Wratten as The Occasional Keepers. Which is, as they say, Twee As F*ck, but worth investigating if you like that sort of thing.

  2. A-side sounds like Stephen Pastel fronting a Joy Division demo. Didn’t make it to the B-side.

  3. After the tenth listen I decided “On our Honeymoon” is a great song. It gallops past everything superfluous.

    I had forgotten “The Wake”. But now I remember how much I liked “Crush the Flowers” and especially “English Rain”.


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