Album #246: Pale Saints – The Comforts of Madness

  • Released: 1990
  • Origin: Leeds, England
  • Label: 4AD
  • Best Track: Language of Flowers

Purely through coincidence, I’m reviewing my second consecutive 1990 album on released on the 4AD label. Pale Saints’ debut The Comforts of Madness popped up as a recommendation for me on Apple Music. I like the songs I’ve heard from them in the past, like ‘Sight of You’ (taken from this album) and ‘Half Life, Remembered’ (from an EP released later in 1990), so why not?

I instantly enjoyed this album. It’s the perfect balance of summery jangle-pop and dreamlike shoegaze, especially the brilliant ‘Language of Flowers’. It’s like Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ bred with Dinosaur Jr.’s ‘The Lung’, but gave it a killer chorus of its own!

It is an album very much of its time and some parts of it sound a little dated – take the weird, looped ending of the otherwise awesome track, for example. However, that’s not really a problem for me. The record encapsulates a zeitgeist, nailing an exact moment when the lo-fi aesthetics of ’80s British indie made way for the tunefulness of ’90s Britpop. Entirely worth a listen!

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