|Years active 1990-present|
Record label A&M Records
|Website Official website|
|Labels 1969 Records, A&M Records Gudenfast, Psychonavigation|
Members Matthew Devereux Shane Wearen Gavin O'Brien David O'Shea Aidan O'Grady
Past members Andy O'Brien Darren Flynn Frailan Moran Mendive Audrey Bridgeman Cathy Byrne Emma Shanley Colm Quearney Brian Brody Stephen O'Keefe Bernard Byrne Sean Molloy Anne-Marie McCormack Lloyd Byrne Liz Bonnin Columb Farrelly
Origin Dublin, Republic of Ireland (1994)
Albums Dogs With No Tails, I Woke Up and I Was Gone
Genres Rock music, Independent music
Similar The Pale Pacific, Copeland, The Golden Horde, Jerry Moss, The Stunning
The Pale are an Irish band of varying genres including rock, and indie. The band are noted for strong lyrical content, eclectic musical stylings, strong melodic and songwriting focus. A prolific band, they have recorded twelve albums and have toured extensively in Ireland and abroad.
Formation and early years
The Pale formed in Dublin in 1990 with the original line-up settling as Matthew Devereux on vocals, Shane Wearen on mandolin, Sean Molloy on bass. The band cut their teeth busking on Dublin's Grafton street, alongside fellow Irish musicians, Kila, Paddy Casey, Mic Christopher and Glen Hansard.
They began their live career with a residency in the International Bar in Dublin. One feature that distinguished the early Pale from other bands was their decision to use a drum machine instead of a drummer.
With some financial backing from U2 Manager, Paul McGuinness, the band recorded two mini albums called Why Go Bald" (1990) and The Happy Ring House(1991). Both titles for were taken from neon signs in Dublin, one on Dame Lane and the other on O'Connell Street in Dublin.
The mini-albums, coupled with the band's growing live reputation led to international interest and their eventual signing to A&M records in early 1992. They released their debut album on A&M Records in 1992 called Here's One We Made Earlier. The album was critically praised in the music press with Vox Magazine in the UK memorably describe its sound as "conventional balladry to make MOR stalwarts weep enviously, alongside mandolin frenzy that could only otherwise exist if Les Voix Bulgares became involved in an industrial drinking accident
The singles from that debut were "Dogs With No Tails", "Butterfly", and "Shut Up Venus". The former peaked at No. 51 in the UK Singles Chart in June 1992.
The band received Hot Press awards in 1992 for Best Single (Butterfly) and Best Album Production (Here's One We Made Earlier).
During this time the band's reputation as a formidable live act grew, with their live shows being described as "part theatre/part gig, Matthew (Devereux) paces the boards like a demented dervish, growling confessions to three part harmonies" The band played the legendary Irish music festival Feile in Thurles and toured extensively in Ireland, the UK, Europe, US and as far afield as Japan.
In 1993 Matthew Devereux memorably made a cameo in the TV adaptation of Roddy Doyle's The Snapper
In 1993 the band broke from A&M records and released The Pale EP on Underscore Records, which peaked at number 7 in the Irish charts. The following year the band's sophomore album Ripe was released to critical acclaim. with The Irish Times saying of the band; 'they may sound like a bunch of mad Hare Krishnas drunk on Buckfast, but they sent the crowd wild with up-tempo mandolin epics...Leave rock n'roll to the remaining one percent with imagination and it will never die"
Following a break with management the band set up Gudenfast records which was to be the vehicle for their next three releases, Cheapside (1996), Cripplegate (1997) and Spudgun (1997). The albums were all self-produced and were only made available through the band's fan-club and at gigs.
. During this time the band's line-up expanded to include more traditional rock elements such as guitar and drums and the reliance on pre-recorded sounds lessened. As well as the mainstays Matthew Devereux, Shane Wearen and Emma Shanley, the band was augmented by Brian Brody on guitar, Rob Malone on bass
The band toured extensively during this period with tours around Europe, UK and Ireland. The tours were financed by selling the records independently.
From 1997-1999 the band toured under the moniker Produkt and were the some time house band for an independent circus.
Psychonavigation and Lonely Space Age
Following a three year hiatus, the band released the album Lonely Space Age on Dublin electronic music label Psychonavigation Records. The band's lineup at that stage consisted of Matthew Devereux, Darren Flynn and Emma Shanley. The album is noteworthy for its electronic stylings, with Hot Press magazine praising its "compelling take on the ambient aesthetic". It is also notable for featuring only one song with founding member Shane Wearen, 'Gain From Pain'.
During this time Matthew Devereux released a solo electronic album 'Tap, Tap, Tap' and EP 'Russian Space Age Auction' also on Psychonavigation.
The band toured the album extensively. with David O'Shea, Andy O'Brien, Bernard Byrne and Stephen O'Keefe joining the band as part of the tour Due to the connection with Psychonavigation Records, the band played on the Dance Stage in Witnness.
In 2004 the band, now consisting of Matthew Devereux, David O'Shea, Andy O'Brien, Bernard Byrne and Stephen O'Keefe convened to record the unreleased album Delete Me produced by long term member Darren Flynn. A fraught recording, the sessions would see drummer Steven O'Keefe break his foot, Matthew Devereux puncture his eardrums and Dave O'Shea involved in a car crash, all in the same week. The album was shelved, with only one song, a live version of 'Proverbial Shirt' appearing at the time on the '10 Summer Nights' compilation album. Seven songs from this album would eventually surface on 2013's 21 Song Salute compilation.
The Pale toured Ireland in 2005, with memorable gigs including a support slot with Antony & The Johnsons.
Following the non-release of Delete Me a reconstituted line-up of The Pale, featuring the return of original member Shane Wearen and former Lir guitarist Colm Quearney, recorded 'The Final Garden' EP. The tracks were released in 2005 on Devereux Records.
2007 saw the release of 'The Contents of a Shipwreck' which was to be the start of an extended relationship with the respected Irish Independent label 1969 Records. The album was seen as by many as a come back album, even though the band had never broken up, with John Brereton "The Contents Of A Shipwreck is a welcome return by an oft missed, much needed band" and Jackie Hayden of Hot Press writing: File under Welcome Back'
Writing in the Irish Independent Ed Power said of the new songs "they write extravagant torch songs, full of heartbreak and crushing melancholy, but also excuding an insatiable hunger for life. It is not by coincidence that their lynchpin is mandolin player Shane Wearen- his crackling fretwork has the frantic energy of a small tornado.'
In 2008 Matthew Devereux and Shane Wearen appeared in the Irish Independent movie Intersection Number 9 which also featured a number of songs for The Pale on its soundtrack.
The same year saw drummer Aidan O'Grady joining the band. Aidan would go on to play a key role in the band appearing on all subsequent recordings and becoming a stalwart of their live shows. An accomplished player, Aidan has played with numerous groups, including 'Las Vegas Basement' and 'Pugwash'
That summer the band headlined a number of festivals in Czech Republic, where they have maintained a large level of popularity.
Upon their return they released the single 'Chocolate Factory' as a free download. The song was accompanied by a music video recorded as part of an animation workshop at the 'Folk Holidays' festival in Czech Republic.
In May 2009 the album 'Proper Order' was released on 1969 records. Produced by Darren Flynn, the album received extremely positive reviews. The tracks 'Lights Out Boys' 'Catholic Credit Card' and 'Chocolate Factory' featured lyrical content that The Evening Herald's Eamon Carr noted had "a disturbing undertow in the aftermath of the scandals highlighted by the Ryan Report.".
The live shows for Proper Order saw Andy O'Brien return to the band on Guitar and Keyboard.
In 2009 Matthew Devereux moved to the Czech Republic and began writing songs for what would become the band's next album, I Woke Up And I Was Gone The album was recorded at Sono Studios, marking the first time that they band had recorded outside of Ireland.
The band created an iPhone app to accompany the album. Taking the form of a musical tour of Dublin, the app featured videos directed by Darragh Byrne of Matthew Devereux and Shane Wearen performing acoustic versions of songs from the album in areas of interest around Dublin including 'The Father Pat Noise' plaque on O'Connell Bridge, H'appenny Flea Market and Patrick Kavanagh Statue. The app was praised by Huey Morgan on BBC Radio 6 and featured in the Guardian Newspapers' apps of the week.
The album was warmly received by music critics, with Danny McElhinney of the Mail On Sunday calling it one of 2012s best. and Com O'Hare in Hot Press hailing the track 'It Should Be Illegal' as near perfect pop
In 2013 to mark twenty one years since the release of their debut album, the band began posting unreleased songs on Soundcloud. Over the course of 21 weeks the band revealed songs from their entire career, revealing a wealth of unreleased material from their archive. The songs were gathered together on the compilation album '21 Song Salute' which was released on 1969 Records. The album received extremely positive reviews, with music blog Golden Plec noting that "the sheer quality and eclectic nature of what didn’t make the cut for single releases is just mind-boggling."<dev>https://www.goldenplec.com/album-reviews/pale-21-song-salute-review/</dev>
Guitarist David O'Shea rejoined the band in early 2013 and immediately writing sessions began with Matthew Devereux and Shane Wearen for the next phase of releases.
The band launched a crowd-sourcing campaign for the 2014 Record Store Day single 'What Would The Smiths Do?' The vinyl artwork was an homage to the classic 'cover star' artwork used by The Smiths throughout their career. In this case it featured Irish Poet Patrick Kavanagh eating a turnip.
The single 'Such Dumb Luck' was released in April 2016. The single was produced by award winning producer Keith Farrell The single was shortlisted for PureM magazine's 2016 Single Of The Year. The single is also noteworthy as being the first release from the band not to feature long term member Darren Flynn, who had either produced, mixed or mastered on every Pale release since their founding.
Gavin O'Brien joined the band on bass in January 2016.
Dogs With No Tails
Shut Up Venus
Elizabeth In RagsThe Contents Of A Shipwreck · 2007