Reviews & Recommendations
Cocteau Twins
(1982 - 1998)
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"Cocteau Twins are the perfect example of artists that can only express themselves through their music. Listen to their songs and float waveringly amongst the dark clouds of existence. Attempt to understand their lyrics and you're doomed! Their song lyrics are mainly mysterious gibberish to which only Liz holds the encrypted key. Read or listen to their interviews and you'll be dreadfully disappointed by their lack of political-correctness and their acute vagueness.
Again, Elizabeth Fraser, Robin Guthrie and Simon Raymonde are purely a music phenomenon, and one that has defined the essence of ethereal music. Raymonde's bass guitar trademark is only equalled by Fraser's heavenly unique voice who inspired a wave of followers like: Love is Colder than Death, Bel Canto, Love Spirals Downwards, The Sundays etc...
Sit back and relax as Elizabeth's voice and Will Heggie's bass on Shallow then Halo lift you up... take you high."
-- Said Sukkarieh, Musicfolio 10/99

 Cocteau Twins Discography - Album / CD Reviews

****¼ 1982: Garlands audio

The Cocteau's were formed in 1982 by guitarist Robin Guthrie, vocalist Elizabeth Frazer and bassist Will Heggie. Their debut album bared some resemblance to Siouxsie and the Banshees work with a notable emphasis on bass guitars (a-la early Cure). It's one of my favorite Cocteau albums including moving dark tracks like Shallow then Halo, But I'm Not, and Garlands.
-- Said Sukkarieh, musicfolio 10/99

***½ 1983: Head Over Heals {short description of image}

"'The Cocteau Twins' second full-length recording, is often cited by the band as well as many enthusiasts as being among their true favorites. Along with its companion EP, Sunburst and Snowblind, Head Over Heels fairly established the trademark 'Cocteau' sound."

****½ 1984: Treasure {short description of image}
This is when Simon Raymonde joined the band, after Heggie's departure and the release of Head Over Heals by the duo Fraser/Guthrie. Raymonde gave the band that missing element to produce the most powerful release of their career: 'Treasure'. With songs like Ivo, Pandora, Beatrix, and Amelia the Cocteau Twins were introduced once again to the world, topping the UK Indie charts, overwhelming their devotees and gaining new grounds as the positive Press reviews referred to them as 'the voice of God'.
-- Said Sukkarieh, musicfolio 10/99

*** 1986: VictoriaLand {short description of image}
Mostly, an acoustic record, produced by Guthrie & Fraser, as Raymonde was working with This Mortal Coil at the time. This album is purely Ambient music that differs substantially from Cocteau's earlier work. Definitely not where you want to start if you're being introduced to Cocteau Twins.
--, 10/99

**** 1988: Blue Bell Knoll

"...Blue Bell Knoll is a vertigo inducing, rapturous wonder. Gorgeous melodies and depths of chiming sound had one reviewer suggesting that "when you die, and then open your eyes, if there isn't music something like this playing in the distance, you're probably on your way to the wrong place." (Could he mean Las Vegas?)"
-- HOLV press release

*** 1990: Heaven or Las Vegas audio
"Heaven or Las Vegas is like a beacon in the fog -- more than any other release in the Cocteaus' catalog, it makes a sincere attempt to cut through the group's impregnable atmospherics to convey a message communicable by more earthy means. While the true intent of tracks like Iceblink Luck, Cherry-Coloured Funk and the title cut remains anyone's guess, they're performed with a renewed sense of focus and urgency; at the same time, fragments of Elizabeth Fraser's lyrics even float by in English, further balancing the songs between thought and impression. "
-- Jason Ankeny, All-Music Guide

**¾ 1993: Four Calender Cafe audio

"Several numbers are stifled by a relapse into robo-beats. "Squeeze-Wax" suffocates beneath a generic folk/alternative-rock arrangement. And "Four-Calendar Cafe" could use a little of the espresso that powered the tempos on "Heaven or Las Vegas." Nonetheless, the Cocteau Twins' old-fashioned popcraft opens the gates of their world a bit wider without compromising their signature atmospherics."
-- Rolling Stone

**¾ 1996: Milk and Kisses audio

"... we give them much credit, but they give us yet more evidence of a band past its peak. Though their first four albums are still exciting, the Cocteau Twins left their cutting edges in the late `80s,...The Cocteau Twins have been many things to many people, but the gild is off the lily."
-- College Media, Inc. via CDnow

***½ 1999: BBC sessions audio

This is a compilation of Cocteau's songs taken from their early years 1982-84, spanning their first three albums, and a few songs taken form their last record "Milk and Kisses" (1996). Two previously unreleased songs from 1983 appear on this double album: Strange Fruit and My Hue and Cry. It is not a Box set of Cocteau's strongest effort as it overlooks the "Blue Bell Knoll" and "Heaven or Las Vegas" years which brought the group a new generation of fans that might be very disappointed buying this album. For older aficionados like myself, this is the perfect collection of gothic and ethereal sounds from the early 80s.
-- DJ Avalanche, musicfolio 10/99

**** 2000: Stars and Topsoil 1982-90 audio

A carefully picked selection of Cocteau's most refined pieces.
 Cocteau Twins Contributions:

****¼ 1984: It'll End in Tears, by This Mortal Coil audio
This project by 4AD's owner Ivo Watts-Russel includes contributions from members of the Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, Colourbox, Cindytalk, Wolfgang Press, Modern English and Xmal Deutschland. Cocteau Twins members contribute to practically every song on the album: Fraser sings Song to the Siren by Tim Buckley and a version of Roy Harper's Another Day, two timeless masterpieces. Raymonde plays the bass and dx7 on five songs and Guthrie plays the guitar on three featured songs. The musical piece The Last Ray is a Raymonde/Guthrie composition.

1985: Strange Idols Pattern... by The Felt
Vocals of Elizabeth Fraser on the track Primitive Painters.

***¾ 1986: Filigree & Shadow, by This Mortal Coilaudio
On This Mortal Coil's second album, Simon Raymonde is an integral part of the project, playing bass, guitars or keyboards on seven songs and composing two of them "Ivy and Neet" and "Tears".

**** 1986: Standing Up Straight, by The Wolfgang Press
Liz loans her stunning voice to the Wolfgang Press providing the backing vocals for the song I Am The Crime, one of the most grandiose moments of gothic and ethereal music of the decade.

****½ 1987: Lonely is an Eyesore audio
a 4AD compilation of various artists, including Cocteau Twins, Wolfgang Press, This Mortal Coil, Throwing Muses, Clan of Xymoxand Dead Can Dance. The Cocteau Twins play a previously unreleased song Crushed.

1997: Blame Someone Else by Simon Raymonde audio
The debut solo album of Simon Raymonde, includes contributions from both Robin Guthrie and Liz Fraser. Far from Cocteau's mainstream, the album is more of a pop experiment, which, unfortunately, fails miserably.

1998: Mezzanine by Massive Attackaudio
"...Massive Attack provide counterpoint to the simpler, rave- influenced dance tunes being embraced by audiences today. The primary conduit for this can be found in the voice of Cocteau Twins chanteuse Elizabeth Fraser, who contributes vocals on three songs. Having previously used Everything but the Girl's Tracey Thorn on Protection, Massive again take a seemingly innocuous vocalist and make her seem wholly plausible within their musical structure. Fraser's ethereal musings on "Teardrop," against a backing track of simple drum taps and piano sighs, is spellbinding. Hearing her voice work with actual rhythms, like on the pulsing bass lines of "Black Milk," is thoroughly compelling, and hopefully a harbinger of Cocteau Twins music to come. "
-- CDnow reviews

Recommended Cocteau Twins Links:

The Cocteau Twins Official site
Similar Artists:

Dead Can Dance | Lisa Gerrard | Love is Colder than Death | Siouxsie and the Banshees | This Mortal Coil | Bel Canto | X-mal Deutschland | Love Spirals Downwards | The Sundays

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