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Pale Saints|The Comforts Of Madness

The Comforts Of Madness

Pale Saints

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Pale Saints appeared on some micro-indie compilations in 1988 and early 1989, but it was a demo that enticed the 4AD label's Ivo Watts-Russell, who without haste caught a gig and consequently signed the band (along with support act Lush). Watts-Russell was particularly taken with "Sight of You," and in a few months, a remixed/retouched version of the drifting ballad led Pale Saints' debut EP. Almost sickly sweet and seemingly innocent until Ian Masters' chorister-like voice lets slip a covetous blood-soaked fantasy -- the escalation from "bad"/"sad" to "red/"dead" is easy to miss -- "Sight of You" went over well, landed on BBC DJ John Peel's listener-driven Festive 50 for 1989, and was covered by Ride. The following February, coincidentally between the recording and broadcast of Ride's take for a Peel session, "Sight of You" was placed in a new context on The Comforts of Madness. Perhaps seen as too significant to be left off, and downplayed so as to not overstress its signature status, "Sight of You" was tucked deep into the LP's second side, thereby emphasizing the many other colors of frayed-nerve dream pop -- as filtered through avant-folk, West Coast psychedelia, the Paisley Underground, power pop, and C-86 -- the trio had to offer. The album creates a kind of whiplash effect by starting with a violent existential tantrum, recharging with a swirling assault that gathers steam (concluding with "I'll destroy you," or something else suggesting emotional rupture), and halting with a chilling and diaphanous ballad cast in a soft shimmer (line one: "You're body's cold"). The rest of the sequence moves from one extreme to another, from the resemblance of a sugared-up Dream Syndicate in a wind tunnel to sighing and strumming through plaintive material ripe for This Mortal Coil picking. All the turbulence is mitigated by Masters' singular tenor, and further eased from song to song with Bad Moon Rising-style noise segues and subtle crossfading. These first steps still delight, startle, and chill.
© Andy Kellman /TiVo

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The Comforts Of Madness

Pale Saints

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1
Way the World Is
00:02:40

Tim Davis, Engineer - John Fryer, Engineer - Chris Cooper, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Al clay, Engineer - Gil Norton, Producer - Ian Masters, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Pale Saints, MainArtist - Graeme Naysmith, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

1990 4AD Ltd 1990 4AD Ltd

2
You Tear the World in Two
00:03:01

Tim Davis, Engineer - John Fryer, Engineer - Chris Cooper, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Al clay, Engineer - Gil Norton, Producer - Ian Masters, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Pale Saints, MainArtist - Graeme Naysmith, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

1990 4AD Ltd 1990 4AD Ltd

3
Sea of Sound
00:05:51

Tim Davis, Engineer - John Fryer, Engineer - Chris Cooper, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Al clay, Engineer - Gil Norton, Producer - Ian Masters, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Pale Saints, MainArtist - Graeme Naysmith, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

1990 4AD Ltd 1990 4AD Ltd

4
True Coming Dream
00:02:29

Tim Davis, Engineer - John Fryer, Engineer - Chris Cooper, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Al clay, Engineer - Gil Norton, Producer - Ian Masters, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Pale Saints, MainArtist - Graeme Naysmith, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

1990 4AD Ltd 1990 4AD Ltd

5
Little Hammer
00:02:17

Tim Davis, Engineer - John Fryer, Engineer - Chris Cooper, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Al clay, Engineer - Gil Norton, Producer - Ian Masters, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Pale Saints, MainArtist - Graeme Naysmith, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

1990 4AD Ltd 1990 4AD Ltd

6
Insubstantial
00:04:19

Tim Davis, Engineer - John Fryer, Engineer - Chris Cooper, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Al clay, Engineer - Gil Norton, Producer - Ian Masters, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Pale Saints, MainArtist - Graeme Naysmith, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

1990 4AD Ltd 1990 4AD Ltd

7
A Deep Sleep for Steven
00:03:43

Tim Davis, Engineer - John Fryer, Engineer - Chris Cooper, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Al clay, Engineer - Gil Norton, Producer - Ian Masters, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Pale Saints, MainArtist - Graeme Naysmith, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

1990 4AD Ltd 1990 4AD Ltd

8
Language of Flowers
00:02:53

Tim Davis, Engineer - John Fryer, Engineer - Chris Cooper, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Al clay, Engineer - Gil Norton, Producer - Ian Masters, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Pale Saints, MainArtist - Graeme Naysmith, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

1990 4AD Ltd 1990 4AD Ltd

9
Fell from the Sun
00:04:45

Tim Davis, Engineer - John Fryer, Engineer - Chris Cooper, AssociatedPerformer - Al clay, Engineer - Gil Norton, Producer - Kendra Smith, ComposerLyricist - Ian Masters, AssociatedPerformer - Pale Saints, MainArtist - Graeme Naysmith, AssociatedPerformer

1990 4AD Ltd 1990 4AD Ltd

10
Sight of You
00:05:37

Tim Davis, Engineer - John Fryer, Engineer - Chris Cooper, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Al clay, Engineer - Gil Norton, Producer - Ian Masters, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Pale Saints, MainArtist - Graeme Naysmith, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

1990 4AD Ltd 1990 4AD Ltd

11
Time Thief
00:03:29

Tim Davis, Engineer - John Fryer, Engineer - Chris Cooper, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Al clay, Engineer - Gil Norton, Producer - Ian Masters, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Pale Saints, MainArtist - Graeme Naysmith, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

1990 4AD Ltd 1990 4AD Ltd

Album Description

Pale Saints appeared on some micro-indie compilations in 1988 and early 1989, but it was a demo that enticed the 4AD label's Ivo Watts-Russell, who without haste caught a gig and consequently signed the band (along with support act Lush). Watts-Russell was particularly taken with "Sight of You," and in a few months, a remixed/retouched version of the drifting ballad led Pale Saints' debut EP. Almost sickly sweet and seemingly innocent until Ian Masters' chorister-like voice lets slip a covetous blood-soaked fantasy -- the escalation from "bad"/"sad" to "red/"dead" is easy to miss -- "Sight of You" went over well, landed on BBC DJ John Peel's listener-driven Festive 50 for 1989, and was covered by Ride. The following February, coincidentally between the recording and broadcast of Ride's take for a Peel session, "Sight of You" was placed in a new context on The Comforts of Madness. Perhaps seen as too significant to be left off, and downplayed so as to not overstress its signature status, "Sight of You" was tucked deep into the LP's second side, thereby emphasizing the many other colors of frayed-nerve dream pop -- as filtered through avant-folk, West Coast psychedelia, the Paisley Underground, power pop, and C-86 -- the trio had to offer. The album creates a kind of whiplash effect by starting with a violent existential tantrum, recharging with a swirling assault that gathers steam (concluding with "I'll destroy you," or something else suggesting emotional rupture), and halting with a chilling and diaphanous ballad cast in a soft shimmer (line one: "You're body's cold"). The rest of the sequence moves from one extreme to another, from the resemblance of a sugared-up Dream Syndicate in a wind tunnel to sighing and strumming through plaintive material ripe for This Mortal Coil picking. All the turbulence is mitigated by Masters' singular tenor, and further eased from song to song with Bad Moon Rising-style noise segues and subtle crossfading. These first steps still delight, startle, and chill.
© Andy Kellman /TiVo

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