Pale Saints | They’ve Been Around for Ages

Updated: Apr 19, 2020


It's been a while in the writing world of music, I find myself listening to the same old music for convenience on my commute through the city to work. On a whim I decided to download a playlist just to break up some part of the week and add some slight excitement. A few shuffled songs later I discovered something I’ve not heard in a while, a decent sounding song. I check my phone, surely, I must know this band? Pale Saints? It sounds current with today’s music. One quick google search later, nope, they’ve been around for ages mate (like what I did there?).


Pale Saints were formed in 1987 in Leeds, England by Ian Masters (bass/vocals), Graeme Naysmith (guitar), and Chris Cooper (drums). Influenced by Primal Scream’s early sounds by the time of the recording of their first EP; Barging Into the Presence of God released in 1989, the band went in a direction that displayed a mix of dark atmospheric and noisy pop tunes along with Ian Masters' choirboy-like vocals. After Pale Saints' first show in London, they were signed with 4AD Records by the label's chief Ivo Watts-Russell.


The group released their first album in 1990 titled The Comforts of Madness which made it to the top 40 of the UK Albums Chart. The album includes a cover version of Opal’s "Fell From the Sun". The original vocalist of Lush, Meriel Barham, joined the band late1990 as second guitarist and vocalist. Barham provided vocals and guitar to the bands Half-Life EP, then joined permanently for the Nancy Sinatra cover "Kinky Love", which allowed the band to have a slight hit single as part of Flesh Ballon EP.


In 1992 the group released their second album, In Ribbons, which was produced by Hugh Jones. Vocalist Ian Masters left the band a year later and was replaced by Former Heart Throbs bassist Colleen Browne. During 1994 the group released another EP Fine Friend, followed by their third album Slow Buildings later that year. Pale Saints continued to tour both Europe and the United States until the departure of Meriel Barham in September 1995. The group eventually disbanded in 1996.


All hope is not lost, although the group have split, most of the members are still making music today, including Ian Masters who was part of such bands as Spoonfed Hybrid and Friendly Science Orchestra to name a few. For fans of The Stone Roses, Galaxie 500 or Cocteau Twins, Pale Saints should be on your playlist.