The Brit Box, Disc 2, Track 2, “Sight of You,” by Pale Saints

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Pale Saints

Pale Saints were an English alternative rock/shoegazing band formed in 1987 in Leeds by singer-bassist Ian Masters, guitarist Graeme Naysmith and drummer Chris Cooper. The group began as a jangly indie pop band influenced by Primal Scream’s early sound. By the time they recorded their first EP, Barging Into the Presence of God, released in 1989, the band went into a direction that displayed a mix of Ian Masters’ ethereal, choirboy-like vocals along with dark atmospheric and noisy pop tunes.

The group’s first album, The Comforts of Madness, was released on February 12, 1990 and reached the top 40 of the UK Albums Chart. “Sight of You,” which was on their EP, was remixed and included as the 10th track on the album.

I’m not sure if this is the version that was on the EP or not.  It is labeled “Demo.”

Andy Kellman at allmusic gives great information with:

Pale Saints appeared on some micro-indie compilations in 1988 and early 1989, but it was a demo that enticed the 4AD label’s Ivo Watts-Russell, who without haste caught a gig and consequently signed the band (along with support act Lush). Watts-Russell was particularly taken with “Sight of You,” and in a few months, a remixed/retouched version of the drifting ballad led Pale Saints’ debut EP. Almost sickly sweet and seemingly innocent until Ian Masters’ chorister-like voice lets slip a covetous blood-soaked fantasy — the escalation from “bad”/”sad” to “red/”dead” is easy to miss — “Sight of You” went over well, landed on BBC DJ John Peel’s listener-driven Festive 50 for 1989, and was covered by Ride. The following February, coincidentally between the recording and broadcast of Ride’s take for a Peel session, “Sight of You” was placed in a new context on The Comforts of Madness. Perhaps seen as too significant to be left off, and downplayed so as to not overstress its signature status, “Sight of You” was tucked deep into the LP’s second side, thereby emphasizing the many other colors of frayed-nerve dream pop — as filtered through avant-folk, West Coast psychedelia, the Paisley Underground, power pop, and C-86 — the trio had to offer.

Reviewing The Comforts of Madness for NME, Simon Williams praised the album as an “unnervingly multi-dimensional collage of melody and friction” with “at least eight Great Pop Tunes, all hooklines and absolutely no stinkers.” The magazine later named it the 45th best album of 1990.

In 2016, Pitchfork ranked The Comforts of Madness at number 21 on its list of the 50 best shoegaze albums of all time.

I’ve listened to the song several times and I like it more with each listen.  It’s got the jangly guitars going for it and it has Ian Masters’ voice, which is smooth but still carries the emotion it needs to for the lyrics.  I also really like how he pauses some words and sings through the ends of some lines.  There are few videos out there of the band playing live for this album.

There is a Pale Saints Appreciation Society on facebook here.

the sight of you
the sight of you
makes me feel blue
makes me feel blue
the things you said
the things you said
make me feel bad
my heart is sad

i think of him
i think of him
soaked all in red
i wish him dead
you say that he
you say that he’s
nothing like me
but how can that be?

what can i do?
what can i say?
the world was large
and i felt very small
what’s gonna happen?
how will i know
when things are back
the way they used to be before?

the sight of you
the sight of you
makes me feel blue
i feel so blue
the things you said
the things you said
make me feel bad
my heart is sad
Songwriters: Pale Saints (Chris Cooper, Ian Masters, and Graeme Naysmith) – all instruments
Sources:
wikipedia
allmusic

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Dave says:

    Interesting. Never heard of them, a bit surprising because the alt rock station in Toronto was still playing a lot of “underground” brit music at that point . Not a bad song, didn’t really jump out at me but would probalbly grow on me if I listened to it a few times. Amazing how many of these acts (British new wave/post-punk) John Peel had a hand in starting their career success.

    Like

  2. memadtwo says:

    Great video. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The tune definitely has something. The sound is pretty cool. I can see why it may take a few listens to fully warm to the song. Based on the tracks you’ve featured thus far, this Second British Invasion Music Box has intriguing music.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Glad you agree, Christian.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. badfinger20 (Max) says:

    I like the guitar on this and the tremelo effect in the background. I’ll have to remember this shoegazing scene they had going on. It reminds me of he Paisley Underground…it’s very close.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Glad you like it, Max. I wonder if one of the future tracks will be from TPU?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. badfinger20 (Max) says:

        I would say so…it’s very close to that sound on some of them.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Aphoristical says:

    I like this too, the bass player sounds really cool.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Glad you like it. I also like the bass in it.

      Liked by 1 person

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