Pale Saints were formed in Leeds in 1987 by singer/bassist Ian Masters, guitarist Graeme Naysmith and drummer Chris Cooper. Part of a new generation of ‘shoegazing’ groups inspired by My Bloody Valentine, Ivo sent them into the studio with producers Gil Norton and John Fryer; the result was the three-song EP Barging Into the Presence Of God, released in September 1989.
The trio’s debut album, The Comforts Of Madness, was also the label’s first release of the new decade. Later in the year, the band returned with the Half-Life EP, which saw them expand to a quartet with the addition of singer/guitarist Meriel Barham. Barham had been the original vocalist for labelmates Lush, whose Miki Berenyi had recommended her to Pale Saints.
In 1991, the group toured with the Pixies and cut a new EP, Flesh Balloon. Produced by Hugh Jones, it featured a dreamy version of Nancy Sinatra’s «Kinky Love» that was also released as a separate 7» single. Pale Saints’ second album, In Ribbons, also produced by Jones, came out the following year. Poppier than their debut, initial quantities included an unusual free 7» featuring two of their songs, «A Thousand Stars Burst Open» and «A Revelation», performed by the Tintwhistle Brass Band.
The album’s title hinted at internal tensions that only manifested themselves a few months later when co-frontman Masters decided to quit the band. Following his departure, Pale Saints added bassist/vocalist Colleen Browne to the line-up and released their final album, Slow Buildings, in 1994. Masters went on to form Spoonfed Hybrid with Chris Trout, releasing an album through 4AD imprint Guernica, plus the short-lived studio project ESP Summer, a collaboration with His Name Is Alive’s Warren Defever..