Towards the end of the ‘80s Pale Saints, from Leeds, were part of a new movement in British indie known as shoegaze. Bands such as Ride, Slowdive and 4AD labelmates, Lush joined them in their quest, and would ultimately become better known. Perhaps Pale Saints are due a resurgence, like the bands that they broke through with initially have enjoyed of late. Comforts of Madness was their debut, originally released in 1990, and it’s a bit of classic. This expanded reissue includes unreleased demos and a Peel Session from 1989.
Vinyl Double LP £23.63 4AD0159LPX
Remastered clear vinyl 2LP on 4AD. Includes unreleased demos & 1989 Peel Session.
- Coloured vinyl
- Only 1 copy left
Vinyl LP £15.75 4AD0159LP
Remastered black vinyl LP on 4AD.
CD £11.66 4AD0159CDX
Remastered 2CD on 4AD. Includes unreleased demos & 1989 Peel Session.
The early 90s saw a glut of superb debut albums by groups with washy guitars, indecipherable lyrics, and fringes down to their chins. There was Slowdive's 'Souvlaki', Lush's 'Spooky', and, of course, Pale Saints' 'The Comforts of Madness'. Seeing as shoegaze is now a blanket term for anything with !wEiRd guitars in, 'The Comforts of Madness' is one of the 90s' landmark shoegaze albums, though it's more aggressive than many of its contemporaries. There are moments when songs threaten to submerge themselves in a mire of white noise. That said, Pale Saints also have a knack for sweet, dreamy melodies (listen to 'Sea of Sound') and beautifully light arrangements.
Pale Saints have a definitive sound, comprising thunderous drums, ethereal singing, chiming guitars, and angular chord progressions. This album seems to stand at odds to the early 90s British shoegaze scene. Pale Saints don't have the awesome sonic power of My Bloody Valentine, but they have more bite than Slowdive, and feel more tangible than Cocteau Twins. They share the frenetic feel of Blue Aeroplanes and New Order's dance-music-played-by-real-instruments vibe. Indeed, 'Sight Of You' could have come straight off 'Power Corruption and Lies', with its prominent bass line and winsome lyrics.
There's a vigor to the album that's accentuated by this reissue's inclusion of demo recordings and Peel Sessions. You get a sense that Pale Saints have more in common with groups like Loop, The Jesus & Mary Chain, or Spacemen 3, than they do Slowdive or Lush. On 'Sea of Sound' there are all these squalling, squealing guitar textures buried away that I'd love to hear come to the fore. Alas. I would love to hear more studio experimentation, but for now we can be content with this fabulous, bumper reissue of one of 1990's best guitar albums.
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