Cocteau Twins : Classic or Dud

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s1ocki: get Milk and Kisses, Garlands and Victorialand; IMO those three along with Heaven & Las Vegas are the essential Cocteau albums

THIS TRADE SERVES ZERO FOOTBALL PURPOSE (DJP), Tuesday, 27 March 2012 14:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

Treasure and Heaven Or Las Vegas are my favourite, by far.

Sick Mouthy (Scik Mouthy), Tuesday, 27 March 2012 14:32 (2 years ago) Permalink

I really thought Treasure was the acknowledged masterpiece?

Sick Mouthy (Scik Mouthy), Tuesday, 27 March 2012 14:33 (2 years ago) Permalink

Victorialand is my fave album, along with Head Over Heels. Lots of their EP's are essential though, especially Love's Easy Tears and Aikea-Guinea.

LeRooLeRoo, Tuesday, 27 March 2012 14:37 (2 years ago) Permalink

Am gonna post this on the rolling Bandcamp/free albums thread, but this band Ahsrae Fax put out a pretty great Cocteaus-ish record in 2002 called "Static Crash". They were a little ahead/out of their time, and seemed to play with a lot of noise bands, but they were great live and super nice folks. Can't recommend this record enough, good female vox, synths, textured guitars etc.:

http://ashraefax.bandcamp.com/album/static-crash

grandavis, Tuesday, 27 March 2012 15:11 (2 years ago) Permalink

yeah treasure WTF, if you only have two get treasure and heaven or las vegas.

akm, Tuesday, 27 March 2012 17:12 (2 years ago) Permalink

I'd happily recommend one of their singles collections or the BBC sessions to a newbie. Even their compilations are fantastic (and some of their non-LP tracks are among their very best).

Michael J. Fuxxx (Deric W. Haircare), Tuesday, 27 March 2012 17:17 (2 years ago) Permalink

'the pink opaque' is a good early years overview if you don't know that stuff very well

althea and (donna rouge), Tuesday, 27 March 2012 17:33 (2 years ago) Permalink

i am a 'head over heels' guy all the way tho

althea and (donna rouge), Tuesday, 27 March 2012 17:33 (2 years ago) Permalink

Highly recommend The Pink Opaque. It was released in the 80s as a "hello America" introduction to the band, comprised of a few album tracks and singles, and it did its job well. Even though it's not a proper album, it's my favorite.

Johnny Fever, Tuesday, 27 March 2012 18:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

some of those bbc sessions are better than the studio tracks (esp. 'hazel' and 'blind dumb deaf')

althea and (donna rouge), Tuesday, 27 March 2012 18:07 (2 years ago) Permalink

Head Over Heels and Heaven or Las Vegas are my favorite LPs, but The Spangle Maker EP, reprised in its entirety (minus a 7" edit) on The Pink Opaque comp, remains their finest moment.

Pauper Management Improved (Sanpaku), Tuesday, 27 March 2012 18:26 (2 years ago) Permalink

agreed - I would go w/BBC Sessions or Pink Opaque to get a sense of where you would want to go next as far as the albums proper.

Flat Of NAGLs (sleeve), Tuesday, 27 March 2012 18:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

"The Spangle Maker" is one of the all-time greatest songs of ever.

Michael J. Fuxxx (Deric W. Haircare), Tuesday, 27 March 2012 18:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

^ fact

Johnny Fever, Tuesday, 27 March 2012 18:30 (2 years ago) Permalink

If we're discussing Cocteau Twins soundalikes, there's a lot of goth dribble that gets the instrumental side down, but almost none have a vocalist that can pull off Liz Frasier's fluid / Ella Fitzgerald like stylings. My only strong recommendation here is the unfortunately named California band Orange, fronted by Sonya Waters, who released an eponymous album in 1994 on Dewdrops Records run by Brant from the 4AD mailing list.

Hey, Youtube has Feijoa by Orange

Pauper Management Improved (Sanpaku), Tuesday, 27 March 2012 18:36 (2 years ago) Permalink

Sorry, I actually regret posting my version above, I had just run across a mention of that band and was excited about it! Nothing is as good at being Cocteau Twins as the real deal of course. Sorry to cloud the waters.

grandavis, Tuesday, 27 March 2012 18:49 (2 years ago) Permalink

now i dont know WHAT to do

A Little Princess btw (s1ocki), Tuesday, 27 March 2012 19:26 (2 years ago) Permalink

fwiw, we're all right and Noodle Vague is full of shit.

Johnny Fever, Tuesday, 27 March 2012 19:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

Victorialand is the best

tanuki, Tuesday, 27 March 2012 19:34 (2 years ago) Permalink

If you lke Heaven Or Las Vegas, Blue bell knoll and Milk and Honey are definitely the closest to that sound. All their albums are great, though.

neutral sequence for flute (blank), Tuesday, 27 March 2012 19:40 (2 years ago) Permalink

s1ocki, get Milk & Kisses

THIS TRADE SERVES ZERO FOOTBALL PURPOSE (DJP), Tuesday, 27 March 2012 19:42 (2 years ago) Permalink

I guess it depends on whether you like your CT with a big bottom end or if you like your CT all whispy and ethereal. Heaven or Las Vegas is probably the perfect album because it straddles that fence ably.

Johnny Fever, Tuesday, 27 March 2012 19:44 (2 years ago) Permalink

Her album's not going to happen is it?

Back to the question 'Treasure' for me, though they're all pretty much interchangeable.

fun loving and xtremely tolrant (Billy Dods), Tuesday, 27 March 2012 19:45 (2 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, if you're looking for something Heaven Or Las Vegas-ish, get Milk and Kisses. Maybe Four Calendar Cafe (although it seems to be held in slightly lower esteem for reasons I don't understand).

Woodsy The Allen (Deric W. Haircare), Tuesday, 27 March 2012 19:51 (2 years ago) Permalink

Decipherable lyrics is the reason

tanuki, Tuesday, 27 March 2012 19:59 (2 years ago) Permalink

it was kind of disappointing at the time but now it sounds great.

akm, Tuesday, 27 March 2012 20:13 (2 years ago) Permalink

I wouldn't mind an album with Yann Tiersen.

I favor steatopygous buttocks and I do not dissimulate. (Sanpaku), Tuesday, 27 March 2012 20:18 (2 years ago) Permalink

Sanpaku thanks for the Orange link! I forgot all about those guys.

neutral sequence for flute (blank), Tuesday, 27 March 2012 20:22 (2 years ago) Permalink

i appreciate all the answers but i can't help feel like i'm back at square one here folks

A Little Princess btw (s1ocki), Tuesday, 27 March 2012 20:24 (2 years ago) Permalink

well, most/all of their albums are pretty special. again, if you want stuff that sounds like HILV, go for the surrounding albums (blue bell knoll,four calendar cafe, milk and kisses, heck even victorialand). tresure and head over heels are incredible but are relatively harsher and more goth.

neutral sequence for flute (blank), Tuesday, 27 March 2012 20:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

dang i remember pining for this comp back in high school. probably just for the alison's halo track:
http://www.discogs.com/Various-Splashed-With-Many-A-Speck/release/597128

neutral sequence for flute (blank), Tuesday, 27 March 2012 20:29 (2 years ago) Permalink

Seriously, I can't think of many other bands deserving of a 'BUY EVERYTHING!' recommendation.

Woodsy The Allen (Deric W. Haircare), Tuesday, 27 March 2012 20:30 (2 years ago) Permalink

Though I've got a bunch of songs from every album, I gotta admit when I'm in a cocteau mood I just throw on my college radio station's old LP of The Pink Opaque

da croupier, Tuesday, 27 March 2012 20:33 (2 years ago) Permalink

Singles comp is the way to go on this one, folks: http://www.discogs.com/Cocteau-Twins-Lullabies-To-Violaine-Volume-1/master/248410

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Tuesday, 27 March 2012 20:46 (2 years ago) Permalink

s1ocki here are some polls for reference, top 3 in each are HOLV, Treasure, & Victorialand.

Best Cocteau Twins album

BEST COCTEAU TWINS ALBUM POLL

Flat Of NAGLs (sleeve), Tuesday, 27 March 2012 21:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

S1ocki - I second the Vol 1 Lullabies to Violaine recommend. You can find it cheap and it's both a great overview of the evolution of their sound and has, for me, absolutely crucial ep's: Tiny Dynamine and Love's Easy Tears kill me every time.

And I agree with Woodsy the Allen - they are definitely a 'buy everything' band.

sknybrg, Tuesday, 27 March 2012 21:23 (2 years ago) Permalink

Stars And Topsoil (1982-1990) is also a good comp that has tracks from every era and almost every album and EP.

LeRooLeRoo, Tuesday, 27 March 2012 21:40 (2 years ago) Permalink

singles comp is definitely a good investment

da croupier, Tuesday, 27 March 2012 21:41 (2 years ago) Permalink

Slocki I think the issue here is that Cocteau Twins albums all express different relational arrangements of their qualities, such that there's not really an obvious answer to "which is the second album I need". This is especially because Heaven or Las Vegas isn't at the far end of their sound's continuum, but is somewhere close to the middle. So it's like you're in a choose your own adventure and you can go down one of several different doors based on your preferences.

I'd ask: what is it that you like most about Heaven or Las Vegas?

- if it's the sharpness and drama of the tunes, try Treasure

- if it's the sensuosness of the atmospherics and vocals, try Victorialand

- if it's the lushly produced thickness of the sound, try Milk & Kisses

- if it's the concise energy of the songwriting, try Head Over Heels

I probably wouldn't recommend Blue Bell Knoll or Four Calendar Cafe as your next choice in part because I think they're slightly lesser albums and in part because they're close enough stylistically and chronologically to Heaven or Las Vegas (in very different ways to one another though) that what is loveable in them is a slant on things that are loveable in that album.

Tim F, Tuesday, 27 March 2012 21:57 (2 years ago) Permalink

No. No. No. The best Cocteau Twins 'album' is Tiny Dynamine/Echoes In A Shallow Bay, two Eps released in quick succession during the fall of 1985. Just perfect from beginning to end.

Life Is Most Assuredly NOT a Long Song (Dr. Joseph A. Ofalt), Tuesday, 27 March 2012 22:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

I would actually put Tiny Dynamine/Echoes In A Shallow Bay in a slightly different category in that (a) it's at the absolute center of the band's aesthetic, and (b) perhaps for this reason its greatness is much more evident once you've absorbed and internalised that aesthetic.

Whereas with most of the albums what makes them interesting is how they push into the spotlight a different facet of the group's sound.

Tim F, Tuesday, 27 March 2012 22:07 (2 years ago) Permalink

Four Calendar Cafe is underrated, but its merits cannot be justly appreciated without the attendant b-sides, particularly Summer-blink. I completely love Liz Frazer's 'affirmation' lyrics, I never get tired of hearing her sing 'I accept myself as I really am' and 'I'm doing a fine job.' Especially after viewing some of the psychologically disturbed interviews (see Youtube, you'll find them) of her with Robin Guthrie prior to this period. It's no wonder they can't reform, ever, at any price!

Life Is Most Assuredly NOT a Long Song (Dr. Joseph A. Ofalt), Tuesday, 27 March 2012 22:11 (2 years ago) Permalink

xpost Tim F: you are completely correct!

Life Is Most Assuredly NOT a Long Song (Dr. Joseph A. Ofalt), Tuesday, 27 March 2012 22:12 (2 years ago) Permalink

I completely love Liz Frazer's 'affirmation' lyrics, I never get tired of hearing her sing 'I accept myself as I really am' and 'I'm doing a fine job.'

For real. I like to pair it with something from Garlands for extra emphasis.

Calvin Coolranch (Deric W. Haircare), Tuesday, 27 March 2012 22:14 (2 years ago) Permalink

i really do love how everybody has a different answer and that the catalog is so much bigger than i had assumed!

great post tim.

i would say what really enchanted me about heaven or las vegas was the way the band combined that gorgeous gauzy ethereality with a driving, pulse-racing intensity

the way songs like "pitch the baby" build to a sort of euphoric climax... does that make sense?

A Little Princess btw (s1ocki), Wednesday, 28 March 2012 15:27 (2 years ago) Permalink

Yes -- see "The Spangle Maker" (1984) or "Seekers Who Are Lovers" (1996). They did that sort of thing quite well.

Naive Teen Idol, Wednesday, 28 March 2012 19:44 (2 years ago) Permalink

since this got buried beneath the fold from two years ago, let me recommend this local TV news feature about a CT show in Ohio, circa 1985:

Flat Of NAGLs (sleeve), Wednesday, 28 March 2012 19:57 (2 years ago) Permalink

Yes, that was brilliant!

โตเกียวเหมียวเหมียว aka Colored on TV! (Mount Cleaners), Wednesday, 28 March 2012 20:00 (2 years ago) Permalink

"consistently one of britain's number one bands"

Valéry Giscard d'Staind (NickB), Wednesday, 28 March 2012 20:42 (2 years ago) Permalink


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