Graeme Naysmith, Guitarist in Dream-Pop Band Pale Saints, Has Died

Graeme Naysmith, the guitarist of dream-pop band Pale Saints, died on April 4, the band’s record label, 4AD, confirmed. His age and cause of death were not given.

Pale Saints formed in Leeds in the late 1980s, originally playing jangly indie-pop before expanding, on their 1989 debut EP, Barging Into the Presence of God, into the more atmospheric sound that would come to be associated with dream-pop and shoegaze. Debut album The Comforts of Madness, released in 1990 and reissued in 2020, minted their trademark sound, drawing the subtle harmonic complexities of the C86 sound into a whirlwind of sometimes noisy, sometimes lustrous guitar noise and filigree that they advanced, with some orchestral additions, on 1992’s In Ribbons and 1994’s Slow Buildings. The group disbanded in 1996, but Naysmith worked closely with 4AD on the recent Pale Saints reissues.

Ivo Watts-Russell, the founder of 4AD, said in a statement, “I’ve always been extremely fond of Graeme’s guitar playing. He was one of only a handful of musicians I worked with who wasn’t afraid of a good guitar solo. In tribute, I simply recommend digging out, or clicking on some horrible streaming service, ‘Henry’ from Pale Saints’ final album, Slow Buildings. When I first heard the sad news, I blew the cobwebs away, shed a few tears of pleasure and sorrow, and felt grateful for the experience. Goes without saying… play it loud! I can only imagine the deep sorrow felt by his ex-bandmates, especially [drummer] Chris [Cooper], who obviously knew the man far better than I.”

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