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COCTEAU TWINS

Cocteau Twins

Treasure Hiding: The Fontana Years

    There was perhaps a sense, after a while, that the world was taking The Cocteau Twins for granted. Late Eighties reviews had routinely described them as The Voice of God, yet 4AD, concerned that we’d get tired of appreciating the rarefied genius which shimmered in front of our noses, would keep reminding us that they were truly special. The irony was that The Cocteaus were themselves evolving, morphing, reconstituting and taking on new shapes. This wasn’t widely registered at the time. It can be now, as The Fontana Years demonstrates a musical marvel which still makes your ears feel like they’re sucking citrus fruits after years of licking ashtrays, while the rings of Saturn crash-land in your front room.

    This 4-CD set brings together the two albums the band recorded for Fontana along with B-Sides, EP’s, Radio One sessions and the odd rarity. The set was mastered at Abbey Road from the original tapes and approved by Robin Guthrie.

    Housed in a study box designed by James Issacs – the booklet contains photos a discography from the era as well as a sleeve note by noted author Chris Roberts.

    Cocteau Twins

    Head Over Heels - Vinyl Reissue

      4AD are repressing two more Cocteau Twins’ albums on vinyl this coming March, the albums Head Over Heels and Treasure. Both following on from the recent reissues of Blue Bell Knoll, Heaven or Las Vegas, Tiny Dynamine / Echoes In A Shallow Bay and The Pink Opaque.

      Using new masters created from high definition files transferred from the original analogue tapes, both albums are being pressed on 180g heavyweight vinyl and come with download codes.

      Head Over Heels:
      Released in late-1983, Head Over Heels is the Cocteau Twins’ second album and features classic tracks ‘Sugar Hiccup’ and ‘Musette And Drums’. Coming not long after original bassist Will Heggie had departed the band, the chemistry between remaining members Elizabeth Fraser and Robin Guthrie was flourishing and by moving the band on from the starkness of their debut, they were now making the music that would help them define the decade ahead; her wordless, dreamlike vocals a powerful instrument over his lush, textured guitars their trademark.

      Back in 1986, ‘The Pink Opaque’ brought together the best of the Cocteau Twins’ early works to become their first official release in the US.

      Already a cult band on college radio, some classics like ‘Pearly-Dewdrops’ Drops’ and ‘Aikea-Guinea’ were given new mixes for this release, while it also featured ‘Millimillenary’, the first run out for incoming band member Simon Raymonde.

      To this day, ‘The Pink Opaque’ remains a great entry point to a wonderful band. 

      Using new masters created from high definition files transferred from the original analogue tapes, the album is a 180g vinyl pressing complete with download code. 

      STAFF COMMENTS

      David says: The blueprint for pretty much every band I was in at school, right down to the ozone depleting level of hairspray.

      Cocteau Twins

      Tiny Dynamine / Echoes In A Shallow Bay

        With a history of releasing singles between albums, the two EPs of ‘Tiny Dynamine’ and ‘Echoes In A Shallow Bay’ were originally released two weeks apart back in November 1985. Seen as companion pieces, they both acted as a precursor to the band’s fourth studio album, ‘Victorialand’.

        30 years later, the EPs are now being married together on to one piece of heavyweight vinyl, using new masters created from high definition files transferred from the original analogue tapes and completed with reformatted artwork. 

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Andy says: Dreams as music. One of the best bands ever.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        LP includes MP3 Download Code.

        Cocteau Twins

        Blue Bell Knoll - Remastered Vinyl Edition

        Released in 1988, ‘Blue Bell Knoll’ is the Cocteau Twins’ fifth studio album. Delivered after a slightly longer period between records than fans had been used to, this was the first they recorded in their own studio. Freed to now make music how they wanted and with no clock to beat, they rose to the challenge of producing it themselves with real aplomb, introducing a new pop sensibility to their sound, expressed through shorter, ‘hookier’ songs with occasionally intelligible lyrics. Sound On Sound magazine praised the band for showing “an uncanny feel for contemporary sound possibilities without making even the slightest concessions towards the mainstream.”

        A beautiful record that showed the band’s continued maturity, it also included one of their most enduring songs, ‘Carolyn’s Fingers’, which was reflected on the album’s cover - a close-up of their friend Carolyn’s hand as shot by Juergen Teller.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Martin says: Liz Fraser possesses possibly the most sublime voice in the history of contemporary music, and never was it put to more exquisite use than on the peerless 'Carolyn's Fingers, the very high point of a celestial, iridescent sonic daydream.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        LP Info: Re-pressed for the first time since release on heavyweight black vinyl. Cut from brand-new HD 96/24 masters.

        Cocteau Twins

        Heaven Or Las Vegas

        Originally out in 1990, "Heaven Or Las Vegas" was the Cocteau Twins' last LP for 4AD, and the pinnacle of their releases to date. Everything you love about the trio's music is present here: phased, shimmering guitar soundscapes, subtle synth washes and textures, and of course Liz Fraser's swooping, soaring vocal. If you had to pick only one Cocteau Twins LP to own, then this has to be it!

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        CD Info: Reissue, remastered by Robin Guthrie.

        Cocteau Twins

        Head Over Heels

        Creating one of the most distinctive sounds in 80s music, The Cocteau Twins were one of the 4AD label's greatest bands. In Elizabeth Fraser, the band had an utterly unique performer who eschewed conventional lyrics for the sound and textures that were layered onto Robin Guthrie's banks of distorted guitars, tape loops and echo.

        Losing original member Heggie might at first have seemed a troubling blow, but in fact it allowed the duo of Fraser and Guthrie to transcend the darkened one-note gloom of "Garlands" with "Head Over Heels". The album introduces a variety of different shadings and approaches to the incipient Cocteaus' sound, pointing the band towards the exultant, elegant beauty of later releases. Opening number "When Mama Was Moth" demonstrates the new musical range nicely; Fraser's singing is much more upfront, while Guthrie creates a bewitching mix of dark guitar notes and sparkling keyboard tones, with percussion echoing in the background. Other songs, like the sax-accompanied "Five Ten Fiftyfold" and "The Tinderbox (Of a Heart)" reflect the more elaborate musical melancholy of the group, while still other cuts are downright sprightly. "Multifoiled" in particular is a charm, a jazzily-arranged number that lets Fraser do a bit of scatting, while "In the Gold Dust Rush" mixes acoustic guitar drama into Fraser's swooping singing. Perhaps the two strongest numbers of all are "Sugar Hiccup," mixing the mock choir effect the band would use elsewhere with both a lovely guitar line and singing; and "Musette and Drums," a massive, powerful collision of Guthrie's guitar at its loudest and most powerful and Fraser's singing at its most intense.

        Now remastered from the original tapes by Robin Guthrie.

        Cocteau Twins

        Treasure

        "Treasure" is arguably the Cocteau Twins finest album, bassist Simon Raymonde joined the band in 1983 and after a couple of brilliant EPs came "Treasure". Opening with "Ivo", one of their best album openers featuring a brilliant Robin Guthrie guitar solo and followed by one of my all time favourite Cocteau Twins tracks in "Lorelei" the pace never slackens, the quality of the songs never lets up right to the last note on the albums climax "Donimo" which ultimatly explodes into a heavenly choral wall of sound.

        Cocteau Twins

        Victorialand

        "Victorialand" is an altogether more relaxed affair than some of their early work as the Cocteau Twins reverted to a duo of Fraser and Guthrie in Simon Raymonde's absence. Without Raymonde's hectic bass the rhythms are subtler as layered guitar lines and lush soundscapes fill the air. Over all Liz Fraser's wonderfully fine voice weaves in and out. A few saxophone textures, a little tabla and the effect is complete. Highlights include the albums majestic opener "Lazy Calm", the multi textured "Fluffy Tufts", and the haunting and darker closing number "The Thinner The Air".

        Cocteau Twins

        Garlands

        Formed by guitarist Robin Guthrie and bassist Will Heggie in Stonehaven in 1979 and with the addition of Guthrie's then girlfriend Elizabeth Fraser as vocalist, the Cocteau Twins signed to 4AD in 1982 releasing their debut "Garlands" later that year. Anchored by a Roland 808 drum machine and Heggie's swooping bass lines, guitarist Guthrie created an atmospheric sound providing a perfect platform for Fraser's remarkable vocals.

        Easily the darkest and most straightforwardly post-punk album Cocteau Twins ever recorded, "Garlands" has a spare, desolate, insistently minor-key sound that owes a clear debt to Joy Division; however, what keeps the proceedings from sounding derivative are Robin Guthrie's spiraling guitar textures (far more primal than on future albums) and Elizabeth Fraser's vocals, which somehow manage to evoke beauty and dread simultaneously. While the album suffers a bit from the use of a drum machine and several songs that are overly repetitious (something rarely found on their later albums), "Garlands" manages to create a sound that, while not indicative of where Cocteau Twins were heading next, still played an important role in defining the 4AD sound of the early 80s.

        Now remastered by Guthrie with new artwork.


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