(c’84-’89) Mark Applin (vocals), Tim Hawes (bass) Lloyd Newman (guitar) and Kevin Arthur (drums).

13 April 1989: FRA at the Bull and Gate, Kentish Town. Source: Mick Mercer via BULL & GATE MEMORIES – remembering all who sailed in her musical tidal wave

This Lightwater / Bagshot Goth four-piece were starting to get popular with low-key gigs at The Wooden Bridge, Guildford and The Old Schoolhouse, Woking when Applin hopped to Lifespan in ’84, but hadn’t really told Fra Angelico, who were formerly known as Stillbrook. They did however record a demo at Shepperton Studio before Applin’s departure.

On 26 May ’84, Fra Angelico rented Tringham Hall, West End and self promoted a concert with ‘guests appearing live’. The band also played at the ‘Swimming Pool squat gig’ in Farnham organized by Jamie Freeman and Ben Norris (Stigmata Club) and others from the Farnham punk scene. On 7 June ’84 they were at The Old Schoolhouse supporting Glib Thicket, which saw the band labelled “socially concerned peroxide inheritors of the Rush vision” by Andy Marstrand previously of Woking bands Exodus and Interface. On the 3rd August they hit The Wooden Bridge followed by their last gig with Applin on vocals was on 14 September ’84 at The Royal Oak, Bordon.

The band dispersed, but Hawes and Newman continued to jam together and wrote some sings. After getting back with Arthur they re-emerged as FRA in ’85. The all black attire was gone, as was the bleach blond hair. They auditioned for a keyboardist and a vocalist with the aim being to finalise a solid line-up, get in some new equipment, concentrate on rehearsing and recording and get together a promo package for record labels.

Once locked down, the band went about securing gigs, performing until late ’89 / early ’90. This included a number of appearances at the Bull & Gate, Kentish Town. On 5 November ’86 they were part of The Timebox night, as the primary support for The Wigs, with The Locomotives, The Milk Monitors, and Jon Beast lending a hand. Ten days later they were back as primary support, this time for The Fifteenth, ably assisted by Camoflague, Saiam, and The Flesh Puppets. On the 15 June ’87 they were supporting Kelly’s Heroes, along with The Patrol, and The Poppy Seeds; and they were back again on 13 April ’89.

15 November 1986: Flyer for Steel Bill and The Buffaloes supported by West One, FRA, and Second Balcony Jump at West End Centre, Aldershot. Source: West One

Between the two Bull & Gate gigs in November ’86 they, along with West One and Second Balcony Jump, supported Steel Bill and The Buffaloes at one of The Buzz Club’s local band night held at West End Centre, Aldershot on 15 November ’86. Two days prior they’d headlined Timebox Two at The Union Tavern, Camberwell with The Shrew Kings, Saviors of Pop Music, and Voice of Europe in support.

Applin, after Lifespan, went on to join Isle of Wight based 9th Street Heroes with Level 42’s Mark King’s brother Nathan on bass. This evolved into 9th Street who signed to A&M Records and released one album: “The Prayer”. Applin and Hawes now collaborate on the Skylephant project.