Classic Bands

4AD Shoegaze Outfit Pale Saints to Release Expanded 30th Anniversary Edition of “In Ribbons”

Late at night, in my bed as I lie here somewhere in limbo land

Half awake, half asleep, halfway somewhere else

I know I should be sleeping but how can I close my eyes

When you know I understand you’re a man and you’ve got to have your kinky love

Icons of the early ’90s, the ever-evocative 4AD shoegaze outfit Pale Saints, are gearing up to drop a revamped edition of their 1992 gem, In Ribbons. The hands of time, COVID, and production snafus saw fit to delay their proper 30th-anniversary celebration of the album. But patience is, after all, a virtue, and a double LP/CD expanded edition of the album will soon be available.

Pale Saints’ 1990 début, The Comforts of Madness, was an opulent affair, tinged with post-punk drama and a touch of L.A.’s Paisley Underground flair. A truly unexpected indie gift: melodies that walked the tightrope between wild rebellion and poignant beauty. Shortly upon its debut, Lush’s original vocalist Meriel Barham swept into the Leeds ensemble of Ian Masters, Graeme Naysmith, and Chris Cooper, adding a new dynamic to the band.

The producer Hugh Jones, who had previously worked with Pale Saints on their 1991 Flesh Balloon EP, once again captured the essence of their sound in their 1992 album In Ribbons.

In Ribbons is a mesmerizing blend of shoegaze, dream pop, and neo-psychedelia that is a testament to the band’s innovative spirit. The album, often described as a journey through dreamy landscapes, showcases a harmonious fusion of jangle-pop, noise pop, and haunting melodies, with tracks like “Shell” and “Hunted” captivating listeners with their delicate yet evocative hooks. In following their full-length debut, The Comforts Of Madness, Pale Saints took a more introspective turn with this second LP, introducing contemplative pop melodies while maintaining their signature atmospheric sound. Beyond its sonic allure, the album’s cryptic lyrics and introspective songwriting make it a unique, almost private journey, positioning it as a hidden gem in the music world, best suited for those who revel in abstract contemplation and immersive musical experiences.

A year after Pale Saints released In Ribbons, Ian left the band, quipping that the reason was that his “arms had become too long.” Former Heart Throbs bassist Colleen Browne, was ushered into the fold. Together, they penned another album for 4AD (Slow Buildings, 1994) before taking their final bow. In an adjacent spotlight, Ian paired up with A.C. Temple’s Chris Trout, forming the duo, Spoonfed Hybrid. Their 1993 pièce de résistance, gracing 4AD’s ephemeral side stage, Guernica, is murmured to be making an encore appearance soon.

The first disc of the re-release of In Ribbons features the UK version of the album, with the second featuring a bonus disc of previously-unheard demos that includes their first attempt at Slapp Happy’s Blue Flower, and a rare 4-track recording of their beloved Nancy Sinatra cover Kinky Love, which features Ian Masters on vocals instead of Meriel Barham.

In a filmic jaunt conceived and spliced by Tiff Pritchett, one finds oneself in a woozy, phantasmagorical parade of halfway-there images… an innocent cherub, twirling lovers, blooms of fancy, a meandering millipede, a rat indulging its palate, ants feasting upon a discarded apple core, billows in the sky, and a black feline…with an eye perhaps on a ratty hors d’oeuvre.

Watch below:

Additionally, the bonus disc of the reissue of In Ribbons features two brass band versions by The Tintwistle Band (previously only heard on a limited, bonus 7” with the initial UK LP pressing).

Coming in a beautiful gatefold sleeve, the limited double LP edition is being pressed on unpigmented vinyl by The Vinyl Factory in West London. A single disc, black vinyl version is also being released, as well as a double CD edition.

The In Ribbons Expanded 30th Anniversary edition is out via 4AD on October 6, 2023.

You can preorder it here.

Here is the complete tracklisting:

Disc One:

  1. Throwing Back The Apple
  2. Ordeal
  3. Thread of Light
  4. Shell
  5. There Is No Day
  6. Hunted
  7. Hair Shoes
  8. Babymaker
  9. Liquid
  10. Neverending Night
  11. Featherframe
  12. A Thousand Stars Burst Open
Disc Two:
  1. Babymaker (Demo)
  2. Kinky Love (Demo)
  3. Hair Shoes (Demo)
  4. Shell (Demo)
  5. Hunted (Demo)
  6. Featherframe (Demo)
  7. Blue Flower (Demo)
  8. Throwing Back The Apple (Demo)
  9. Ordeal (Demo)
  10. Untitled Instrumental (Demo)
  11. A Thousand Stars Burst Open (Tintwistle Brass Band Version)
  12. A Revelation (Tintwistle Brass Band Version)

Alice Teeple

Alice Teeple is a photographer, multidisciplinary artist, and writer. She is not in Tin Machine.

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