1990 album for the ethereal pop band formerly signed to 4AD. 11 tracks including a cover of the Opal classic 'Fell From The Sun'. Never released domestically.
A MUST HAVE!!!!
Charles Comer | Baltimore, Maryland | 05/21/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I believe that The Comforts of Madness is perhaps the most significant and yet little known recording of an equally significant musical era. It lies at the wake of what might be considered "classic" British indie, representative of bands such as McCarthy, The Smiths, Biff Bang Pow, House of Love, and many more besides. But it also is at the cusp--and perhaps birth--of shoegaze, twee, and the second wave [sic.] of British indie. To this effect The Comforts of Madness is the early crystalization of bands such as Slowdive, Chapterhouse, Lush, Ride, etc. etc. Indeed, The Comforts of Madness, much less any Pale Saints recording, captures the very essence of nearly all that was indie in Britain in the late eighties/early nineties: washing guitar sounds, mellow rhythms, whispery vocals, and somewhat sentimental lyrics. Although this may sound sappy, it is not; trust me. This album is intense and is well suited for contemplative moments and self-indulgent behavior induced by whatever turns you on.The e.p. that came out prior to The Comforts of Madness is titled Barging Into the Presence of God, and contains 'Sight of You,' which is presumably the single track on TCOM. However, nearly each time I meet someone familiar with TCOM it is generally agreed that track number three, 'Sea of Sound,' is the strongest song on the album. Of course tastes change and this track, along with track seven, 'A Deep Sleep for Steven,' are ostensibly the more dreamy, mello, and, as I alluded to above, more sentimental of the tracks. Several of the tracks are rather upbeat yet still capture that washy/shoe-gazy sound so indicative of the period.To be sure, TCOM is an album of an era and captures that moment in Brit-pop history perfectly. Yet, I feel that TCOM has withstood the test of time perhaps better than many of the recordings of the period. This may be due to the fact that TCOM was released prior to the buzz of the "shoegaze" bands that were soon to arrive on the scene. It is the same phenomenon that occurs when anything become popular and defined - it invariably becomes vulgar. This is not to suggest that bands such as Slowdive, Chapterhouse, Secret Shine, and The Field Mice are vulgar. Not at all. But comparatively I would argue that TCOM is a stronger, more timeless, work. Of course My Bloody Valentine was not mentioned here and deserves a great deal of credit for all the aforementioned bands, as do countless others. If this has piqued your interest I encourage you to check out the Pale Saints. If you have and you like what you have heard, be aware that Ian Masters has, subsequent to his leaving the Pale Saints, partnered with some unlikly musicians such as Chris Trout to form Spoonfed Hybrid (a remarkable recording released on the 4AD subsidiary Guernica--find this and buy it!) and Warren DeFever from His Name is Alive to do some project whose name I forget. I have not heard this project in full but what I have heard in quite different from Pale Saints and Spoonfed."
Production aside, this is a beautiful and fascinating album
Christopher Culver | 02/10/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"THE COMFORTS OF MADNESS was the first album by Pale Saints, released in 1990 after 4AD had issued an EP. While the murky production is truly tragic, the songwriting and musicianship of Pale Saints more than make up for it.From start to finish, THE COMFORTS OF MADNESS is an incredibly cohesive album, and in fact the songs do mix into one another without any blank space between. The first two songs, "Way the World Is" and "You Tear the World in Two," provide an explosive opening for the album. Then, the listener is dropped into the lush sea of "Sea of Sound." "True Coming Dream" is an extremely catchy, but original, pop composition. "Little Hammer" is a heartbreaking remembrance of childhood. My personal favourite of the album, although every song is superb, is "Language of Flowers," where every note brings one to a higher state. The last song on the album, "Time Thief," is an elusive track that shifts its time signatures so often as to totally lose the listener, but that's a good thing for the song.All three members of Pale Saints are excellent musicians. Ian Masters, that "reincarnation of a Viennese choirboy," has a haunting voice while his bass guitar is always right on target. Chris Cooper moves around the drumset expertly. Graeme Naysmith's guitars wrap around each other in a whirlpool of sound.Although the following album by Pale Saints, 1992's IN RIBBONS, had crystal-clear production, THE COMFORTS OF MADNESS is the finest example of their songwriting prowess. This is one of the few albums I have in my collection that I can't name a single bad track from, and it's truly a great work."
Glam Slam Noise Pop to the bone
citizenpep2 | 06/15/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This debut-album I rate as one of best in the British 'shoe-gazing' scene. Next to MY BLOODY VALENTINE and RIDE, they can combine their 'noise' with perfect little pop tunes and angel voices. 'True coming dream', 'Time thief' are some of the greatest tunes on this album. But as a whole, it is even greater."
Stare at the cover and listen with headphones.
Mark Hollingsworth | Tallahassee, FL | 05/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Comforts of Madness is easily one of my top five favorite albums ever. After 16 years I still keep coming back to it. I usually have to listen to it 3 or 4 times to get it out of my system for a few months. "Sea of Sound" is one of the most intense and beautiful songs I know. It's my favorite moment in the album, but heck, all the songs are great. This album has one of my favorite covers, with v23's mischief all over the place. As with many 4ad releases, stare at the cover and listen with headphones, kids."