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20 years ago, The Pale made their major label debut with Here's One We Made Earlier, an album that introduced a band that, from then to now, has succeeded in blindsiding their audience with music that is equal parts eminently melodic and utterly singular. "I'm not good at focusing on the commercial aspects of music and trends," says The Pale's lead singer and main songwriter, Matthew Devereux.
Therein lays not only the pleasure for the creative spirit but also the problem for the accountants. Inevitably, The Pale's tenure on the major label didn't last too long, and so began a number of years where the band (in effect, Matthew and multi-instrumentalist Shane Wearen) soldiered on. Albums you've probably never seen stocked in record shops - Cheapside (1996), Cripplegate (1997), Spudgun (1998) – were released in parts of Europe you've probably never been to. The band even changed their name to Produkt, under which name more albums were released to further rippling waves of unawareness.
The past five years has seen two albums – The Contents Of A Shipwreck (2007) and Proper Order (2009) – continue The Pale's pilgrimage for perfection. Their latest album, I Woke Up And I Was Gone, features a dozen beautifully measured songs that nudge the parameters of lo-fi pop/folk - nugget- sized and gem-like, charming tracks such as 'Company Of Wolves', 'It Should Be Illegal', 'The Boy With The Antlers', 'Hanging Around Airports' and 'An Autograph For My Dad' highlight the casual simplicity of perfect pop.
The new songs – largely written over the past three years while Matthew was based in Prague - are based on truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. "When I was younger I wanted the music to do different things, one of which wasn't the kind of truth that I feel we've stitched though The Pale's work in the past five years. I've realised, ultimately, that truth has freed me." The feedback to this sense of directness has taken Matthew by surprise. "The more honest I was the more I connected with it. The idea that I can be so direct and that people are open - hearted to it is something I never expected."