The Pale Saints' second full-length release saw the vocal talent of Meriel Barham, ex Lush, brought in to supplement Ian Master's arguably rather weak voice. Fans' opinions were mixed on the introduction of the new member, often complaining that it made the Saints sound too much like her previous band. Masters continued to play bass and write most of the songs.
Released toward the end of the UK’s early 90's Shoe-Gazing scene, this album certainly garnered a lot of critical attention and easily overshadows the subsequent "Slow Buildings" LP that was recorded without Masters' creative influence.
"Comforts of Madness" remains many fans' favourite, but "In Ribbons" is in retrospect a much more cohesive and satisfying work. Apart from the stronger vocals, the album describes a strong arc across a theme of yearning & unrequited love whereas the previous release appeared to lack any compelling direction apart from a somewhat pessimistic view of the Human Condition.
Unfortunately the muddy and rather inept production brings Chris Cooper's competent but leaden drumming far too high in the mix and leaves the vocals mired in the background. If any album were ripe for remastering then this is it.
Stand-out tracks include the tuneful lament of "Thread of Light" and the compelling indie epics "Hunted" and "Featherframe".
A Must Buy of the 90's, despite its flaws.