The Back Catalogue of The Cocteau Twins

I remember arguing the toss over this album with some guy who felt so betrayed by the fact that you could hear the actual lyrics. Pompous git!

 

Hell's teeth; I mean you're young, impressionable, you want to buy your first Cocteau Twins album, you get to the prescribed rack in the shop, and they all look the fucking same.

 

As a big Cocteau Twins fan, I'm writing this as a service to you, (you impressionable fuckers), and, I have to admit that the artwork makes the act of just looking at the cds on offer a bloody nightmare, monstrously myopic Gothic overtones; what looked impressive on vinyl looks a bloody mess in this format. I mean, how do you even start to pick something to listen to?

 

Garlands (1982)

 

Brooding bass, heavy, one tone, Goth moaning. I never truly dug this album, despite the odd highlight, (Wax & Wane), Garlands never matches the later releases. But it's a real grower, Blind Dumb Deaf and the title track are great. Just don't get it to start with. Actually, listen to the Peel Sessions versions of the Garlands tracks, then get it, it's an easier entry point. Their singles are probably their best releases of this period.

 

Head over Heels (1983)

 

Following the Peppermint Pig EP, there is a dramatic, almost theatrical lightening of the sound, with great, crystalline, crunching guitar work by Robin Guthrie, who races to catch up with Liz Frazer's voice. The echoey drumming; (VERY 1983), whilst dated, gives the sound more confidence. Great stuff, the LP boasts tracks like In Our Angelhood and Musette and Drums.

 

Treasure (1985)

 

Ahhhh, Treasure... In some of my madder moments I used to pretend this album was recorded by the gods of Classical Antiquity. And you know I'm not far wrong. Absolute fucking genius. Beautiful, spacey, intelligent, above all balanced music, for it does rock out in quite a visceral manner at times. First record where they sounded truly ethereal. Highlights are undoubtedly Lorelei Otterley & Domino.

 

Victorialand (1986)

 

Weird, underwater sounding, almost birthing music; with the band nearly getting into Dead Can Dance territory. Liz Frazer always used to sound like she was singing about very intense, romantic sex (I say sounded like because, in common with most other people listening to them I couldn't understand a word she sang till about 1990). This, and Moon and the Melodies, were my seduction, (or frustrated practice seduction) LPs circa 1987-1988.

 

Moon and the Melodies (1987)

 

With Harold Budd guesting on long, piano led instrumentals, this is possibly the most trippy LP of 1987; it dripped sex. And it was beautiful. I still think you can't do better for a summer evening soundtrack whilst watching swallows swoop o'er cow trodden meadows, (or something)....

  

Bluebell Knoll (1988)

 

Back from la-la land, (but only just), Bluebell Knoll has some thumpingly catchy "tunes" such as Caroline's Fingers; a throwback to Treasure, almost. However this album has a much warmer, more intimate tone. It has a very fin de siecle feel to it, a graceful waltzy quality as seen on Cico Blow. Possibly their most textural sound to date, (though I have heard people call this album "overblown"). Don't believe them.

 

Heaven or Las Vegas (1990)

 

I remember arguing the toss over this album with some guy who felt so betrayed by the fact that you could hear the actual lyrics. Pompous git! This is as fine an album as they ever made, with three or four of their finest songs, and a clearer production; (I Wear Your Ring, Cherry Coloured Funk).Over time, this is the album I have enjoyed the most.

 

Four Calendar Cafe (1993)

 

I found this pretty insipid after Heaven or Las Vegas. I just didn't dig it at all; it sounded as something was missing; like they were just going through the motions. Oh, I suppose Bluebeard has something of the old spirit but to be honest I lost interest on the strength of this. (There was an LP after this, round 1996, but darned if I can remember what it was called. I didn't bother).

 

BBC Sessions (2000)

 

Great, nay, wonderful compilation based mostly around 1982-1984; looser, (even the Garlands tracks), almost wilder versions of their songs, with great tearing flashes of guitar. Standout for me is the beautiful version of From the Flagstones. Well worth the buy; even an ersatz Cocteaus sleeve is presented.

 

Singles & EPs

 

Fuck, they are all absolutely brilliant, a real mix, sound wise of Treasure & Head over Heels. I can honestly say buy the bloody lot, especially Echoes in a Shallow Bay, Akea Guinea, and Love's Easy Tears, which has  my fave Cocteau Twins track of all time, Those Eyes That Mouth on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hell's teeth; I mean you're young, impressionable, you want to buy your first Cocteau Twins album, you get to the prescribed rack in the shop, and they all look the fucking same.