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PALE SAINTS

Pale Saints

In Ribbons - Expanded 30th Anniversary Reissue

    The 1990 debut album from Pale Saints, The Comforts of Madness, is an outstanding record that owed as much to post-punk and L.A.’s Paisley Underground scene than it did to shoegaze. The Sunday Times called it “an unintended indie manifesto: music that is at once wayward and concise, dissonant and beautiful.”

    Shortly after its release and in need of a second live guitarist, Lush founding member Meriel Barham joined the Leeds trio of Ian Masters, Graeme Naysmith and Chris Cooper, bringing a new dynamic to the band.

    Having previously worked well with producer Hugh Jones (Echo & The Bunnyman, Modern English, The Sound), he did a brilliant job recording their second album, In Ribbons (1992), despite some studio tensions. Brooklyn Vegan said in a recent celebration of the album that it was the “push and pull between Masters’ outsider tendencies and (the rest’s) commercial interests that makes In Ribbons so good. If some of the wild, ragged edges of Comforts of Madness have been smoothed off, the album makes up for it with scope and beauty. And there’s still no shortage of weird.”

    Missing its original release date last year due to Covid delays and a production plant in meltdown, In Ribbons is finally getting the 30th Anniversary celebration it deserves with a special double LP / CD release – the first disc be- ing the UK version of the album, the second a bonus disc of never before heard demos (including their first attempt at Slapp Happy’s ‘Blue Flower’ and Ian’s 4 track recording of ‘Kinky Love’) and two brass band versions by The Tintwistle Band.

    TRACK LISTING

    Tracklisting (2LP/2CD)
    A1 - Throwing Back The Apple
    A2 - Ordeal
    A3- Thread Of Light
    A4 - Shell
    A5 - There Is No Day
    A6 - Hunted
    B1 - Hair Shoes
    B2 - Babymaker
    B3 - Liquid
    B4 - Neverending Night
    B5 - Featherframe
    B6 - A Thousand Stars Burst Open
    C1 - Babymaker (Demo) *
    C2 - Kinky Love (Demo) *
    C3 - Hair Shoes (Demo) *
    C4 - Shell (Demo) *
    C5 - Hunted (Demo) *
    C6 - Featherframe (Demo) *
    D1 - Blue Flower (Demo) *
    D2 - Throwing Back The Apple (Demo) *
    D3 - Ordeal (Demo) *
    D3 - Untitled Instrumental (Demo) *
    D4 - A Thousand Stars Burst Open (Tintwistle Band Version) +
    D5 - A Revelation (Tintwistle Band Version) +
    * = Previously Unreleased

    Tracklisting (LP Black Vinyl)
    A1 - Throwing Back The Apple
    A2 - Ordeal
    A3 - Thread Of Light
    A4 - Shell
    A5 - There Is No Day
    A6 - Hunted
    B1 - Hair Shoes
    B2 - Babymaker
    B3 - Liquid
    B4 - Neverending Night
    B5 - Featherframe
    B6 - A Thousand Stars Burst Open

    Pale Saints

    The Comforts Of Madness - 30th Anniversary Edition

      On the eve of a post-Thatcherite Britain, the Pale Saints, alongside the likes of Lush, Ride and Slowdive, were ushering in a new wave of British indie. And in 4AD, they found a perfect home for their music - an exciting & undeniable meld of noise and dream-pop.

      Their debut album, The Comforts of Madness, didn’t disappoint, now standing as one of the best of its era. Pitchfork placed it in their Best 50 Shoegaze Albums Of All Time saying, “There’s a restless urgency, particularly when the volume swells and the rhythms intensify. That energy not only keeps (it) vital, it emphasizes Pale Saints’ inventiveness, how they channelled softness and rage into something distinctive.”

      Nearly 30 years on and The Comforts of Madness is finally getting the reissue treatment. Having been remastered, a faithful LP repress on black vinyl is being released as well as double CD and double clear vinyl editions, both of which come with a bonus disc of previously unreleased demos and the band’s only John Peel Session, recorded in 1989.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Javi says: This year, my new year’s resolution was “don’t buy records, save money instead”. Everything was going swimmingly for the first two weeks of January - until one grim Friday when ‘The Comforts of Madness’ received its 30th Anniversary reissue. Like a dry January defeated by an old friend’s 30th birthday bash, I cracked and splurged, and did so with good reason.

      Visually, ‘The Comforts of Madness’ is instantly recognisable as a Vaughan Oliver creation. Familiar shapes and textures shimmer under a psychedelic sheen, all petals and whiskers and shadow; the tracklist splattered across the back like a mystic incantation (“way the fell. deep sleep, the sun. time in sight.” Amen.)

      Opening track “Way The World Is” crashes in like a horseman of the apocalypse, while the much-anthologised “Sight Of You” still sounds every bit as fresh and swooning as Martin assures me it did 1990. Across the album, crushing shoegaze guitars ebb and flow, bass lines worm and drums fizz, only letting up for tender moments like the balladic “Little Hammer”. It’s a sprawling LP of ambitious indie, pushing both instruments and the mixing desk to extremes, masterfully streamlined into a near-continuous soundscape with each song graciously giving way to the next.

      The bonus disc of unreleased live sessions and alternative recordings lifts the magic curtain slightly, revealing the band behind the sonic wizardry and dream-pop production - this version of Pale Saints is more earnest yet every bit as melodic, with shades of The Smiths, early MBV, and even The Beach Boys permeating the lower-fi recordings. They provide a warm and welcome counterpoint to the soaring album proper, and are well worth checking out and marvelling over.

      ‘The Comforts of Madness’ is from start to end, front to back, 1990 to 2020, a chaotic, ethereal, and epic work - and to these ears, at least, it might just be the 4AD album.

      TRACK LISTING

      Way The World Is
      You Tear The World In Two
      Sea Of Sound
      True Coming Dream
      Little Hammer
      Insubstantial
      A Deep Sleep For Steven
      Language Of Flowers
      Fell From The Sun
      Sight Of You
      Time Thief

      2LP & 2CD

      Way The World Is
      You Tear The World In Two
      Sea Of Sound
      True Coming Dream
      Little Hammer
      Insubstantial
      A Deep Sleep For Steven
      Language Of Flowers
      Fell From The Sun
      Sight Of You
      Time Thief
      Sight Of You (Original Woodhouse Studio Version) *
      Way The World Is (Woodhouse Studio LP Demo) *
      Language Of Flowers (Woodhouse Studio LP Demo) *
      You Tear The World In Two (Woodhouse Studio LP Demo) *
      Fell From The Sun (Woodhouse Studio LP Demo) *
      A Deep Sleep For Steven (Woodhouse Studio LP Demo) *
      Time Thief (Woodhouse Studio LP Demo) *
      Sea Of Sound (Woodhouse Studio LP Demo) *
      Insubstantial (Woodhouse Studio LP Demo) *
      Little Hammer (Woodhouse Studio LP Demo) *
      True Coming Dream (Woodhouse Studio LP Demo) *
      She Rides The Waves (John Peel Show Version) *
      You Tear The World In Two (John Peel Show Version) *
      Way The World Is (John Peel Show Version) *
      Time Thief (John Peel Show Version) *

      * = Previously Unreleased


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