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Flesh Balloon Single

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4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable EP released between this band's first two albums 24 Feb. 2015
By Christopher Culver - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Pale Saints released the Flesh Balloon EP in 1991 leading up to their second full-length album In Ribbons. Two of the tracks would in fact appear on that album, "Hunted" and "Hair Shoes". Musically the EP represents their signature style of this era, somewhere between the jangly sound of early Primal Scream and the shoegazing scene that flourished in the early Nineties. Production-wise, this effort features the somewhat brighter tones and sleeker aesthetic of their second album as opposed to the murk and gloom of their debut The Comforts of Madness. All of the artwork designed for Pale Saints' releases by 4AD's in-house design studio v23 is stunning, and this release is no exception, featuring some striking use of metallic ink that doesn't come across in an online image.

"Hunted" is based around Ian Master's haunting vocals, mainly in the high range that lends a Viennese choirboy touch to this English indie band. I've always felt that Chris Cooper was one of the most underappreciated rock drummers of the era, and on this track he especially shines. "Porpoise" is an excellent instrumental, which will appeal to fans of Pale Saints' 4AD forebears Dif Juz. This was the era when Meriel Barham joined the band, and her first ever appearance on main vocals is an idiosyncratic one: "Kinky Love", a cover of a Nancy Sinatra tune. Finally, "Hair Shoes" here is Ian Master's home demo, not the final version that would appear on IN RIBBONS. I actually think it's better than the album version, as its lower-fi aesthetic is more emotionally powerful, and it lacks the annoying vocal clipping of the album version.

I've owned this record for nearly two decades now, and I'm always entertained when it comes up in my playlist. All of Pale Saints' early work has dated well and is destined for the ages. If you've enjoyed other releases by this band, by all means pick up this EP too.
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