Cocteau Twins : Classic or Dud

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come on. one of the best bends of the 80's if not the best.

justin case, Friday, 18 January 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Hey, since this is at the top of the NEW ANSWERS again, anyone heard that new project of Guthrie's? Violet Indiana, that is? I know what Andy thinks...anyone else have a take on it?

Sean Carruthers, Friday, 18 January 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

does no one around here rate head over heels? i think it's easily their best record. "sugar hiccup"...yowza...it's a bit like the sugarcube's "birthday"...it just sends me in a way few other songs do...the perfect distillation of their aesthetic into a brief almost-but-not-quite pop song. (hey tom, does this qualify for the "pop (not pop)" debate?) ;)

jess, Friday, 18 January 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Head Over Heels is their best, Jess? Well no shit, Sherlock.

Andy K., Friday, 18 January 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Head Over Heels is pretty damn great, and I think the album I play the most after Treasure and Heaven or Las Vegas. It has much more variety than many of the other albums, certainly in comparison to Garlands, and "Musette and Drums" is just monstrous.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 18 January 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I don't think anybody used the E word to describe them until well after Head Over Heels. Evil, perhaps, but not e-fucking-thereal. Those guitars sound ferocious and Liz' cries sound like child abuse. I like " The Tinderbox" along with "Musette" and "Hiccups". Great as Treasure was it marks the beginning, along with a slew of singles and EPs from that time, of the Cocteau's sweet side overtaking their gloriously sinister side.

Curt, Friday, 18 January 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

1 year passes...
REVIVE-A-RAMA!

I'm on a spree tonight - and I'm massively back into the Cocs. I think Treasure is one of my all time fave albums, but my knowledge of the rest of their stuff doesn't extend much past it, only to "Four Calendar Cafe" (which I realise is to Treasure as Sing when Your Winning is to Life thru a Lens).

So go on - lets speak of how awesomely great Lorelei is.

Lynskey (Lynskey), Tuesday, 26 August 2003 22:59 (10 years ago) Permalink

Cocteau twins are so very overdue for a rarities/b-sides collection. 4AD's reissued lots of the 80's EPs, but there's worthwhile stuff from the 90's too that's still lost. 'Round', 'An Elan', 'Flock of Soul' were all M&K b-sides, I think. there's also the lovely 'Need-Fire', which was only on, of all things, the Judge Dredd soundtrack. oh, and their last recorded song ever, 'Touch by Touch', which is a real connection to Violet Indiana... lovely stuff.

derrick (derrick), Wednesday, 27 August 2003 03:54 (10 years ago) Permalink

As classic as it's possible to get -- despite later stuff letting them down.

One of the great bands of the 80s.

David A. (Davant), Wednesday, 27 August 2003 05:34 (10 years ago) Permalink

Anyone who says "dud" gets the eternal middle finger from me.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Wednesday, 27 August 2003 14:42 (10 years ago) Permalink

I've never really engaged with the Cocteaus... I can see why people like them, but what I've heard by them has never made me go "WOW! THAT'S BRILLIANT". with the exception of 'Song To The Siren', which might be by This Mortal Coil rather than the Cocs themselves as such.

DV (dirtyvicar), Wednesday, 27 August 2003 14:49 (10 years ago) Permalink

Mmm, they are rather like eating a whole treacle steam pudding to yourself: delightful at first but 3 1/4 the way through and it's - glckk! ... enough spongey sweetness!
But those first few mouthfuls - wow wow wow, heaven!

David Merryweather (DavidM), Wednesday, 27 August 2003 16:09 (10 years ago) Permalink

re-revive-orama !

some time last autumn i had a funny turn :

falling in love with the cocteaus again.

piscesboy, Wednesday, 27 August 2003 17:23 (10 years ago) Permalink

DV, for all intents and purposes, "Song to the Siren" is a Cocteaus song (Liz and... Simon(?)).

Leee (Leee), Wednesday, 27 August 2003 20:18 (10 years ago) Permalink

1 year passes...
I'm seeing Robin Guthrie solo tonight in San Francisco. I will report back afterward.

kyle (akmonday), Friday, 12 November 2004 04:07 (9 years ago) Permalink

Please do!

Seb (Seb), Friday, 12 November 2004 06:49 (9 years ago) Permalink

It should be a very placid evening.

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Friday, 12 November 2004 06:50 (9 years ago) Permalink

Yes tell us what happens, Kyle.

Bimble (bimble), Friday, 12 November 2004 08:03 (9 years ago) Permalink

It was quite good! I fell asleep though (twice). He performed to a film he'd made which was kind of superfluous; pretty, but kind of sub-brakhage attempts at color and light with a few naked ladies thrown in for good measure. It was good to have something to look at occasionally though. Songs were from Imperial (a few of them) and some were new; they were definitely much more interesting live than the album, which, again, is pretty, but kind of inconsequential. It was great to see him generate those classic Guthrie reverb drenched tones though. He plays so effortlessly, everything looks so easy. I think the tour dates are on the bella union site, if you're a fan it's well worth going.

kyle (akmonday), Friday, 12 November 2004 08:31 (9 years ago) Permalink

2 months pass...
So Hilburn/LA Times are claiming the Cocteaus are reuniting and playing Coachella, as will be announced tomorrow. Allegedly.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Monday, 31 January 2005 07:25 (9 years ago) Permalink

I know, I just read that on the other thread and I'm afraid I'm just in shock. Surely it can't really be?

Bimble... (Bimble...), Monday, 31 January 2005 07:30 (9 years ago) Permalink

Maximum classic. Aside from echoing the feeling of other pro-Twin-ists, I can only add that immersion in their stuff truly is a dependable visit--I shall now sound very earnest and lame--to a very safe, candy-cotton cocoony place.

iang, Monday, 31 January 2005 07:38 (9 years ago) Permalink

recorded, classic. live... dud.

fortunate hazel (f. hazel), Monday, 31 January 2005 07:52 (9 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, well, she used to get pretty nervous live, that's true. But by the time of Milk & Kisses it seemed to me she might have conquered a lot of her fright.

Bimble... (Bimble...), Monday, 31 January 2005 08:03 (9 years ago) Permalink

Can't find a damn thing on the "official web site" about a reunion other than rumours.

Bimble... (Bimble...), Monday, 31 January 2005 08:06 (9 years ago) Permalink

Off to the desert!


Ned Raggett (Ned), Monday, 31 January 2005 14:52 (9 years ago) Permalink

maybe they'll tour later this year with Dead Can Dance and my head can FUCKING EXPLODE

kyle (akmonday), Monday, 31 January 2005 14:59 (9 years ago) Permalink

new order billed below nine inch nails?
bauhaus and cocteau twins billed below coldplay?

my heart just broke

rentboy (rentboy), Monday, 31 January 2005 15:14 (9 years ago) Permalink

Milk & Kisses is really, really, really wonderful.

The Ghost of Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Monday, 31 January 2005 15:19 (9 years ago) Permalink

America gets Bauhaus and Cocteau Twins reunions, meanwhile I was informed via The Guardian Guide that London gets 30th Anniversary Tour visits from Styx and Kansas. Totally unfair !

DJ Martian (djmartian), Monday, 31 January 2005 15:26 (9 years ago) Permalink

Junkie frigging XL? Puh-leez. I would say: Let's hope he breaks up in a million pieces but that'd just mean a reunion in ten years time. ;-)

I have only heard Heaven Or Las Vegas. Wouldn't say classic, because I have to be in the right mood for her *glossolalia*. But it sure is pretty music.

stevie nixed (stevie nixed), Monday, 31 January 2005 15:30 (9 years ago) Permalink

holy fuck...

Baaderonixxx le Jeune (Fabfunk), Monday, 31 January 2005 16:06 (9 years ago) Permalink

It is official. Hell of a time to be not in California. This is shaping up to be the worst year of my life.

Leeeter van den Hoogenband (Leee), Monday, 31 January 2005 16:16 (9 years ago) Permalink

Fuck.

There must be UK dates, surely.

aldo_cowpat (aldo_cowpat), Monday, 31 January 2005 16:25 (9 years ago) Permalink

I hope so!

Rob M (Rob M), Monday, 31 January 2005 16:27 (9 years ago) Permalink

11 months pass...
cocaine

mdma

together

terry lennox. (gareth), Thursday, 5 January 2006 23:27 (8 years ago) Permalink

Drug fiend.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 6 January 2006 03:15 (8 years ago) Permalink

Cocteau Twins, along with King Crimson and David Sylvian (japan/Rain Tree Crow/Nine Horses), rates among my absolute favorite musical acts. My only issue is that I find Liz Fraser's post-Cocteau output a bit underwhelming. "This Love" with Craig Armstrong and her Massive Attack collaborations are notable exceptions. "At Last I am Free" (taken from the 'Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before Compilation), on the other hand, sounds unfocused. Liz posesses, in my opinion, probably the most beautiful voice in music and I think it would be interesting to see here work with some composers/producers that could do her singing justice.

As for possible artistic directions, I could imagine a piece driven by Fripp Soundscape and Frisell Loops with electro-acoustic drum work By Pat Mastelloto, some electronically treated harmonized trumept lines by Nils Petter Molvaer, some excentric fretless bass work by Mick Karn and, beautiful piano/synth treatments courtesy of Ryuichi Sakamoto. I could think of may other possible directions, but this is just off the top of my head. All in all I still think she has the potential to surpass even the greatest cocteau twins moments, given the right environment.

Cliftonb, Friday, 6 January 2006 05:26 (8 years ago) Permalink

she doesn't seem to be interested in doing much of anything though, oddly enough.

kyle (akmonday), Friday, 6 January 2006 20:52 (8 years ago) Permalink

2 years pass...

I JUST RIPPED MILK & KISSES TO MY IPOD THEREFORE I RULE OKEETHNCXBYEEY

Bimble Is Still More Goth Than You, Saturday, 31 May 2008 08:29 (6 years ago) Permalink

underrated album, that

stephen, Saturday, 31 May 2008 08:39 (6 years ago) Permalink

The last one I bought was Four Calendar Cafe, but I think I heard Milk & Kisses once. Perhaps I should seek it out again.

Johnny Fever, Saturday, 31 May 2008 08:49 (6 years ago) Permalink

"Violaine" is one of my favorite late-period Cocteau songs -- it stands up to the best of Heaven or Las Vegas, easily

stephen, Saturday, 31 May 2008 09:14 (6 years ago) Permalink

This is the one Cocteau Twins album I actually had sex to.

Bimble Is Still More Goth Than You, Saturday, 31 May 2008 10:29 (6 years ago) Permalink

intentionally?

stephen, Saturday, 31 May 2008 14:18 (6 years ago) Permalink

7 months pass...

Oh my god if Cocteaus could ever forgive you

Meanie!

Tell the X Mal Deutschland fans to go fuck it all.

Cocteaus happiness.
Quisquose.

I'm gonna sic the vinyl on your ass. I'm trying to peaceful, but...
sorry.

EAT THE VINYL

EAT IT

Oh shit

With Oatmeal Sauce (Bimble Is Still More Goth Than You), Sunday, 4 January 2009 08:34 (5 years ago) Permalink

6 months pass...

In a certain celebrity mailout this appeared...

'The reason the Cocteau Twins' comeback last year didn't happen is because even though Robin Guthrie and Liz Fraser had put their differences to the side (clue - £££££) Liz insisted that her partner be the drummer on the tour. Fine.

All was going well until Robin got pissed, looked through the tour expenses and saw that Liz's partner was getting paid a bit more than the other hired hands. He went batshit mental, rang up Liz and told her that this was outrageous and that he shouldn't even be getting paid AT ALL as Liz was making money and so her partner "didn't need to be paid".

Liz basically said (in indecipherable made-up language no doubt) she couldn't take this and if Robin was kicking off even before the tour started, it could only get worse. So she walked and that was it - reunion over. She apparently walked away from "millions".

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate (aldo), Friday, 24 July 2009 13:02 (4 years ago) Permalink

Good for her.

Masonic Boom, Friday, 24 July 2009 13:32 (4 years ago) Permalink

I can understand being annoyed that he's making MORE than others but not getting paid AT ALL? Fuck that.

Lisa Simpson = a fictional bitch (HI DERE), Friday, 24 July 2009 13:56 (4 years ago) Permalink

Not getting paid at all, says an anonymous secondhand source.

Joerg Hi Dere (NickB), Friday, 24 July 2009 14:00 (4 years ago) Permalink

piscesx, Monday, 6 August 2012 23:22 (1 year ago) Permalink

wait so there are people who like the music of the cocteau twins who think that is not awesome? ok I guess, takes all kinds of opinions. I was expecting catastrophe but that was just fantastic

steven fucking tyler (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Tuesday, 7 August 2012 00:57 (1 year ago) Permalink

I was at RFH last night. First things first, I am a mate of aldo's irl and I genuinely love him like a brother. And like all good brother relationships it means you can disagree and in this case he is wrong, with a few valid points.

He is correct about the sound level - I, too,,would have preferred it louder. He is also correct about Donimo, which was the only major disappointment for me. I think Trayce is correct here - this wasn't a Cocteau's reunion and shouldnt be approached as such but Donimo had lost most of its dynamism and had nothing to replace it. Where as Pearly Dewdrop became something else entirely. The joy was replaced by a gorgeous wistfulness. This was Liz saying 'we can't go back and that is sad, but what we have now can be good if different'. This was intelligent nostalgia and, yes, it was probably partly driven by Liz's vocal frailties, but was nevertheless intensely moving.

The new stuff was quite simply beautiful. I can see the 'real world' comparison but I was thinking more eno ambient than Peter Gabriel. And it melded beautifully into the reworked Cocteau's songs. If this stuff ever comes out on a Cd I will be first in the queue.

A word about the backing singers; they were stunning. Gorgeous voices taking the parts Liz couldn't, mainly not because of failings In her voice, but because of the vocal arrangements which were actually quite close to the recordings on most of the Cocteau's part of the set. The musicians were excellent, the sound was astoundingly clean and the 'back projections' simple and effective. A guest appearance by Steve Hackett was also welcome. Say what you like about him, that man can sure play a guitar.

Siren. I am not sure if the You Tube gets across how emotional this was. Yes, it was virtually a different song but once you get over that this reworking was magical. Actually, the major shock was that Liz sang the words correctly!

I said to Aldo last night that it was in my top ten gigs ever. That is hyperbole, but it was tremendous, moving and unforgettable. And if I could get tickets for tonight I would!

Guilty_Boksen, Tuesday, 7 August 2012 08:17 (1 year ago) Permalink

After you said that I was half expecting to say "wow, she didn't sound like that on Saturday", but I genuinely think the vocal performance there is awful. Having admitted that Cocteaus baggage coloured my opinions, I'd be tempted to admit the same baggage is colouring other people's in the other direction. From a level playing field and without the LiZ effect I think we'd all be more critical.

It does sound like a lot of the sound issues were fixed in a decent room though. And we didn't get Steve Hackett in Bath.

passive-aggressive display name (aldo), Tuesday, 7 August 2012 08:25 (1 year ago) Permalink

yeah that clip is amazing imo. but then i didnt pay to see it. looks like The Graun will be doing a rave as Alexis P was saying he was blown away.

piscesx, Tuesday, 7 August 2012 08:48 (1 year ago) Permalink

Not to rain on any parades, but live Cocteau Twins, at least mid-tour during their later era (New Orleans '91 and Houston '94), were a very iffy proposition. Raymonde and the hired help rather professional, Guthrie chewing gum and looking at the ductwork, and Fraser doing dolphin noise improvisations that only occasionally converged on the tune. It meandered, a lot, without the measured crescendos that must have been constructed from dozens of studio takes and a lot of meth. This live performance from the same tour is a good deal better than the shows I saw:

The Painter of Blight™ (Sanpaku), Tuesday, 7 August 2012 12:16 (1 year ago) Permalink

After you said that I was half expecting to say "wow, she didn't sound like that on Saturday", but I genuinely think the vocal performance there is awful. Having admitted that Cocteaus baggage coloured my opinions, I'd be tempted to admit the same baggage is colouring other people's in the other direction. From a level playing field and without the LiZ effect I think we'd all be more critical.

I've always appreciated the Cocteaus but have never been a massive fan/follower; in fact, I just started getting Cocteaus albums beyond Milk and Kisses 3 years ago. That performance was... okay? It was very tender and deliberate and obviously meant a lot to the crowd but "Song of the Siren" is a song that I liked a lot more when Messiah sampled it so it never had major emotional impact for me; this rendition basically hit me the same way as the original.

I think she did what she set out to do, and that thing is something that I only ever sporadically get on board with, so I guess in a totally blase way I'm siding with aero here.

keeping things contextual (DJP), Tuesday, 7 August 2012 13:24 (1 year ago) Permalink

I was there tonight and I'm with guilty_boksen. The new material was really extraordinary. I was thinking... Bill Nelson on "Gone To Earth", Philip Glass sopranos (the BVs)... and, wow, Liz (maybe not Robin) is the one with the melodic gift. The mix was great, she sounded terrific and they could have ditched the Cocteaus material and I'd still have loved it.

Michael Jones, Tuesday, 7 August 2012 23:42 (1 year ago) Permalink

^^ What he said. Loved how this line-up reclaimed the Cocteaus from being merely proto-shoegazers, and instead suggested an altogether richer, stranger avant-pop act - the missing link between Another Green World and Bitte Orca. Loved the Fripptastic guitarist. Loved the pound-shop Eno guy on keys. Loved the new material, which seemed oddly redolent of Billy Mackenzie and Barry Adamson. All in all probably the best gig I've seen in the last five years. Strangely grateful to Aldo for making the sheer excellence of it all such a glorious surprise.

Stevie T, Wednesday, 8 August 2012 00:02 (1 year ago) Permalink

Invoking Billy M is good enough for me!

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 8 August 2012 00:03 (1 year ago) Permalink

that 'song to the siren' performance is awesome!

i did watch the other guy's video of her doing 'pearly-dewdrops drops' from the same set tho and yeah her voice is barely audible on the chorus

half-worm inchworm tapeworm (donna rouge), Wednesday, 8 August 2012 00:15 (1 year ago) Permalink

the guy's other video*

half-worm inchworm tapeworm (donna rouge), Wednesday, 8 August 2012 00:15 (1 year ago) Permalink

Glad you all had such a good time. Maybe just the sound in Bath was that bad, Liz' nerves affected her performance, etc etc.

passive-aggressive display name (aldo), Wednesday, 8 August 2012 05:09 (1 year ago) Permalink

Somebody on DiS saying that the sound was better last night than on Monday, so maybe Bath was just the first step on an evolving route. Wish I'd gone to one of the London shows now.

passive-aggressive display name (aldo), Wednesday, 8 August 2012 09:39 (1 year ago) Permalink

I feel oddly conflicted watching that "siren" youtube clip. She loooks like someone's granny in that outfit, but I remind myself she's always dressed in an endearingly oldfashioned way so I cant o_0 about it now.

I see aldo's point now though; she really isnt making any attempt at all to belt a note, going purely off that clip (not that this song was ever one where that was the case). It isnt disappointing: the frippertronic guitar was gorgeous, and it was an arrangement I really liked! But she really wasn't a powerhouse like she used to be. I will be fair though, its been a very very long time since she last performed and cut her a break, people get older etc.

Even for her recent milder singing that was very subduded. Curious.

Pureed Moods (Trayce), Wednesday, 8 August 2012 10:21 (1 year ago) Permalink

Watching that other guy's clips, the new songs are way better for her new singing. Its like David Sylvians recenter stuff. I always said those two should work together.

Pureed Moods (Trayce), Wednesday, 8 August 2012 10:35 (1 year ago) Permalink

ugh the Athol Brose one tho. Backing singers! Pipe down!

Pureed Moods (Trayce), Wednesday, 8 August 2012 10:42 (1 year ago) Permalink

The mix from my seat was just right wrt the backing singers; they were barely noticeable and were only shading and echoing and augmenting. I did think at the time, if Kate Bush hasn't toured for 30 years because (amongst many other reasons) her studio vocal arrangements were too complex to reproduce live, then here's a solution. I was pretty alarmed at the idea of backing vocalists (when we've all come to hear The Voice) but it totally made sense.

Yeah, one or two Cocteaus songs were pretty pedestrian, but it was all about the new stuff, which is so much richer that anything she's put her name to since about 1988 and, at the same, really not Cocteau-like at all.

Michael Jones, Wednesday, 8 August 2012 11:09 (1 year ago) Permalink

I think the issue might be what you touched on, with her its about The Voice - regardless of the music vehicle - and that shouldnt remain the case, really. I did really like those new arrangements! I was reminded of Sylvian and Dolphin Bros and even Porcupine Tree, a bit.

Pureed Moods (Trayce), Wednesday, 8 August 2012 11:13 (1 year ago) Permalink

I am now pondering her workign with King Crimson, and that way madness probably lies.

Pureed Moods (Trayce), Wednesday, 8 August 2012 11:18 (1 year ago) Permalink

that song to the siren is amazing. performance was very david sylvian, band-wise. I think I would have died at this gig.

akm, Wednesday, 8 August 2012 22:03 (1 year ago) Permalink

That performance was like watching Dame Judi Dench Goes Ambient. Cathartic Liz Fraser always thrills me. Precious Liz Fraser? Sort of bores me.

Naive Teen Idol, Thursday, 9 August 2012 04:12 (1 year ago) Permalink

I don't know - it was both precious and cathartic at the same time? I've seen Lost Highway too many times so a certain Lynchian trippiness came into it for me as well, more or less uninvited :) Also think youtube doesn't quite do it justice...

lynshrooom, Thursday, 9 August 2012 09:50 (1 year ago) Permalink

Dame Judi Dench Goes Ambient

i would buy ten copies of this record

half-worm inchworm tapeworm (donna rouge), Thursday, 9 August 2012 17:49 (1 year ago) Permalink

dame can dance

Author ~ Coach ~ Goddess (s1ocki), Thursday, 9 August 2012 19:26 (1 year ago) Permalink

Ain't that a smack in the calfskin.

Andy K, Thursday, 9 August 2012 19:28 (1 year ago) Permalink


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