Pale Saints: The Comforts of Madness: 30th Anniversary Remaster (4AD) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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Pale Saints

The Comforts of Madness: 30th Anniversary Remaster


Jan 21, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Forget the naysayers who'll tell you it was too polished and kitsch, the 1980s spawned some of the most innovative sounds in the history of music. Whether it be marauding post-punk, the earliest incarnation of hip hop, deftly orchestrated electronica, or an explosion of experimental guitar bands, the decade had it all in abundance.

One band to emerge at the tail end of the eighties were Pale Saints. Formed in Leeds as a three-piece in 1987, they'd already become an established name on the local live scene by the time 4AD snapped them up and put out breakthrough 12-inch Barging Into the Presence of God two years later. Even today, over three decades later it sounds like nothing else released before or after. Predating the term "shoegaze" by a couple of years, their peers ranging from the pastoral pop of Primal Scream and The Field Mice to the more ethereal sounds of Lush and Cocteau Twins. An appearance on BBC2's Snub TV program catapulted their name into the heart of a nation desperate for new bands to love and cherish. With a debut album already recorded, it wouldn't be long before they became a household name on the indie circuit.

Approximately six months to be precise. The Comforts of Madness finally dropped in February 1990. Its 11 pieces of music all highlighting various elements of the band's sonic palette. Whether it be the dreamy "Sea of Sound," opulent "Insubstantial," the power pop of opener "Way the World Is," or re-recorded "Sight of You" (off that aforementioned Barging Into the Presence of God EP). The Comforts of Madness is quite rightly heralded a classic and cited by many bands and musicians since as not only an influence, but also a reason for their existence. Its status firmly assured as one of the most significant albums in indie guitar music's development.

Indeed, being such a timeless artefact, it's hard to believe 30 years have passed since The Comforts of Madness first saw the light of day. To its credit, it still triggers the same feelings of eternal youth and vigorous excitement as it did way back then. So what better way to commemorate its 30th anniversary than finally afford the album a long overdue reissue.

Fully remastered along with 15 previously unreleased bonus tracks collected from the original Woodhouse Studio LP demos and the band's first John Peel sessions respectively. The Comforts of Madness still stands proud as one of the finest albums ever created and this timely repackage is an essential addition to anyone's record collection. (

Author rating: 9/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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