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In Ribbons

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • ASIN: B000008J8E
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 840,510 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Format: Audio CD
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.
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By A Customer on 10 Oct. 2001
Format: Audio CD
when this album was released in the mid nineties - the pale saints were already, commercially speaking a spent force. seen as 'shoegazing' bandwagon jumpers - the press had almost washed their hands of them. however for those who'd enjoyed the previous album and couldn't wait for a new my bloody valentine album (still bloody waiting!) - a treat was in store. in fact, of all the albums credited to the shoegazing scene this is one that still stands up as a bloody good record. From the pure visceral pop of the opening track through to the swooning, languid beauty of the last,this is an album that i can still play to this day - not as some nostalgia trip, but because this is an album that yeilds something new with each listen. which, lets face it is more than can be said for slowdive or chapterhouse...
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Format: Audio CD
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.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Love the first two tracks, worth it for those alone!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pale Saints' Best Album 18 Oct. 2002
By Lucius Kwok - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
If you've never heard Pale Saints, this is probably the best first album to get. It is the most accessible and etherial of the all, and the last album before a line-up change saw the departure of one of the founders of the band. This means that the Pale Saints of "Slow Buildings" is essentially a different band, and with lifeless songs.
The songs on this album work together to be more than just a collection of songs. Some may say that "The Comforts of Madness" is a better album, but I found that one not as well produced and the songs not as good compared to this one. On "In Ribbons," you have female vocals on several of the songs, which works very well with the etherial guitar arrangements.
Also, check out "Blue Flower," which the same song that Mazzy Star did on "She Hangs Brightly," but with a completely different, more etherial feel to it. However, the band sound nothing like Mazzy Star. If you like Lush and the Cocteau Twins, you should get this album.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Taking shoegazing to a whole new level 11 Oct. 2006
By Christopher Culver - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
IN RIBBONS was the second full-length album by Pale Saints, coming three years after their debut THE COMFORTS OF MADNESS. Here new guitarist and vocalism Meriel Barham joins first guitarist Graeme Naysmith, bass and vocalist Ian Masters, and drummer Chris Cooper. It's a superb album, one of my all-time favourite releases by the 4AD label, which has always had a high standard of quality.

The Pale Saints' first release had shown the then-trio to be firmly in the shoegazing camp, with lots of flange and mysterious production. But they stood apart from other acts for their outstanding musicianship. Sure, Naysmith's guitars were standard fare for shoegazing, but Masters' bass was refreshingly agressive, and Cooper's percussion ranks him up with David Narcizo as a master of indie rock drumming. Masters' voice, which floated high up like the tormented reincarnation of a Viennese choirboy, gave a highly individual touch. The songwriting was impressively strong too, with, for example, the changing times in "Time Thief" and the poignant lyrics of "Language of Flowers".

On IN RIBBONS, both of these elements are still present. The addition of Barham, however, makes for a fuller instrumental sound. At the same time, the production is remarkably less murky than on the first album, with Hugh Jones letting a bright, glittery sound come through compared to Fryer's dark and moody atmospheres on the first album. Most of the material is still contributed by Ian Masters. He provides vocals on all songs but three, and "Hair Shoes"--first heard as a chilling demo on the "Flesh Balloon" EP, now an awesome wall of sound-- and "Shell" seem to be entirely his idea. When Barham makes an appearance on vocals, in "Thread of Light", "Liquid", and "Featherframe" (possibly the most elegant song here) it is no jarring contrast, but a perfect harmony with existing tradition. The album famously closes with "A Thousand Stars Burst Open", a visionary track that subjects the sonic range of a jam band to the carefully considered structure of the Pale Saint's finest work.

As an additional fine feature of IN RIBBONS, one must mention the album artwork by the legendary designer Vaughan Oliver and his firm v23. The typography is based on that of the first album, but whereas v23 chose dark colours on THE COMFORTS OF MADNESS, we find rich yellow and white tones on IN RIBBONS that perfectly complements the luminosity of the sound.

If you like bands from the 4AD's middle period, such as Lush, Cocteau Twins, or heck, even Swallow, Pale Saints are sure to be a delight. And IN RIBBONS is one of their finest efforts, with remarkable staying power. Years after I've abandoned most of my 4AD collection, IN RIBBONS still gets a frequent listen.
5.0 out of 5 stars Very congenial 1 Mar. 2016
By Nick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
First off, I love shoegaze/dream pop, particularly the original bands, aka late 80s and early to mid 90s. I'm listening to this album for the first time right now, on track 7 Blue Flower (which is very calm and pretty) but so far the whole album has been so attractive and just sounds beautiful. It makes me feel incredibly happy and content. Fantastic, almost choir like at times vocals. The music and song structure varies throughout the album, so far making no song sound the same. This album just sounds special compared to other shoegaze albums that I have heard and love. I also recently just stopped smoking weed for about 5 days now after doing it everyday for the past 7 years. And I've never, ever felt better. This album is making me realize how much I love NOT smoking. That's a big deal. Anyways... I have a feeling this album will hold a special place in my heart for the time, mindset, and emotional mood I'm in right now, and of course, the sound of the music. In fact, I already know I will remember this album very fondly. Just like I do Loveless. Gorgeous album and might I say, very different from other shoegaze albums. Even though it has the same shoegaze elements. I don't know, I feel the songwriting is better and they are more actual songs rather than maybe spacey or trance like guitar noise. But I love spacey trance guitar noise too, don't worry. Like I said, this is my first listen so I'm just going off of what I've heard so far. Which has all been insanely good. I would recommend this to anyone who likes different types of music. Because let's face it, unfortunately not everyone likes shoegaze, it does take a certain personality or ear to enjoy shoegaze. Good good stuff, I'll play it again tomorrow!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tying It All Together 27 May 2010
By kabalabonga - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
No one who's watched a growing band of escalating flurries levitate up and down through a breezy wind can fail to be struck by the singularity of the experience, even if they've seen it often enough before. And that's what I feel like when I hear the chiming scale of a metallic instrument struck at the end of "Ordeal" (the second track from "In Ribbons"), the song previously having been driven by duel guitar work promoting heavy distortion and pitch bending ..I've heard the song many times before, and the cumulative effect never fails to move me.

"In Ribbons" is one of the handful of CD's I own that I would never tire of listening to if I were stranded in some remote location. I recently replaced a copy that had finally worn out after 17 years. Almost every track has some sort of highly accessible hook or sense of dynamic tension ("Hair Shoes" a heavily atmospheric cut, is the exception to both rule, joining the orchestral "Shell" and tone poem "There Is No Day" and "Neverending Night" - a languidly-paced track celebrating the universal condition of budding fetal awareness in utero that is driven almost entirely by a blend of reverbed guitar and pitch bending- as lacking in some form of organic build-up to a crescendo). No longer relying on just one guitarist, a variety of effects are used to weave together these subversive pop masterpieces; light and heavy distortion, delay, reverberation, and phase shifting, among others, sometimes seemingly in one the space of one song ("Hair Shoes"). Meriel Barham's addition as second guitarist allows for more heavily textured, highly interlocking fretwork in tandem with Graham Naesmith on the remaining tracks.

Meriel Barham's presence is felt just as strongly in her position as secondary vocalist, her husky vocals serving as a dramatic counterpoint to Ian Master's highly resonant tenor. She takes the lead on close to a third of "In Ribbons", including the effervescent "Thread of Light", a superlative cover of Slapp Happy's "Blue Flower", now graced by a levitational scale and heavily compressed distortion, the jangly, loping, graceful "Liquid", and the intricately structured "Featherframe". She does a fantastic job of interpreting the lyrics, and her vocal presence took "In Ribbons" up a notch over their full-length debut release, "The Comforts of Madness", revealing a heretofore hidden dimension to the band's overall presence.

Ian Master's literate, often wistful, highly reflective lyrics also serve to advance gorgeous melodies, which can be found even on the more aggressively paced tracks ("Throwing Back the Apple", "Hunted", and "Babymaker"), his clear, emotive tenor delivery adding a deeper level of sensitivity to all of the cuts on which he vocalizes, but especially poignant on the closing track, "A Thousand Stars Burst Open", his swan song with this band, as he would move on to form the more experimental Spoonfed Hybrid.

No more copies of "In Ribbons" are presently being printed, . It's a vital, necessary release, and easily one of (if not) the best shoegazing titles ever recorded. I submit that you should grab a copy while they're still available here.
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars too smart for shoegaze 26 Dec. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
this breathtaking recording is probably the most worthwhile purchase any fan of cerebral yet unobtrusive music could make. overall, the mood of this record is more brooding and subdued than the playful optimism of their unlikely debut lp. high points include the nearly-terrifying "hunted", the gracefully awkward "ordeal", and the soothing "a thousand stars..." missing from the uk cd is their cover of mazzy star's cover of slapp happy's "blue flower", which is indeed enjoyable but not necessary. buy this cd and discover why pale saints did NOT deserve to be lumped in with such less-imaginative acts as ride. if you are interested in what ian masters (vocalist/bassist/main songwriter who left the band not too long after this record was released) has been up to, check out spoonfed hybrid (collaboration with chris trout of a. c. temple) and oneironaut (solo "electronica" project).
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