Cocteau Twins : Classic or Dud

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A brief history of my relationship with The Cocteau twins : I bought everything they did as it came out. Liked it. Around 1993, decided I couldn't stand them any more. Sold most of it. Recently bought the BBC Sessions, as I couldn't resist it at £4.99. Loved them. Wondered why we ever fell out. Bought the compilation 'Stars and Topsoil'. I was wrong back in '93 - Classic all along. What do YOU think?

Dr. C, Thursday, 26 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

absolute classic. they don't seem to be mentioned very much now, but they were superb. again a part of the 80s that seems to have been glossed over in retrospect, comes back to that battle for cultural hegemony over 'our' shared past.

anyway. victorialand, blue bell knoll, heaven or las vegas probably favourites. even four-calendar cafe had some sublime moments.

not so keen on the very early stuff 82/83. 85-90 probably best period. not as edgy then, but don't see them as an 'edgy' band.

favourite song has to be 'the spangle maker'

and those sleeves were wonderful

gareth, Thursday, 26 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Funnily enough, I was surprised how good the early stuff sounds, after not hearing it for so long. "Garlands" "Wax and Wane" and "Feathers-Oar-Blades" in particular are magical. Splendid 808 programming. ( No doubt someone will tell me it wasn't an 808.)

Dr.C, Thursday, 26 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Very glad to say that I'm whole-heartedly AGREEING with the good Doctor C. again. CLASSIC, CLASSIC, CLASSIC. Even their more dubious moments have a completely unique charm to them.

alex in nyc, Thursday, 26 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

It was a moment of sudden liberation for me a couple of years ago when I realised that it was OK not to like the Cocteau Twins. I'd never really liked them but I'd always sit back as the fountains of critical praise bubbled because a small voice was saying "look, you can't actually say they're rubbish, they're beautiful ethereal cascades of sound" etc. etc.

But actually they're rubbish. Yeah they're beautiful ethereal cascades of sound but it just makes no connection with me, and listening to a whole album is like being force-fed merinques.

Tom, Thursday, 26 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

mmmm, merinque...

gareth, Thursday, 26 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Bravo Tom! a more eloquent wag than me described them as "gothick victorian whimsy" on the tangents site, which about sums up their horrible, horrible records.

Peter, Thursday, 26 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

mmmm, victorian whimsy...

gareth, Thursday, 26 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

That's kinda how I felt a few years back, Tom. As I said, I've changed my mind.

Dr. C, Thursday, 26 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Well, a careful Classic vote. I've never been really into them, but I sure love 'Heaven or Las Vegas', esp. the first 3 or 4 tracks with the pounding bass, there's something almost edible about those songs. Sweet, sticky, satisfying.

Omar, Thursday, 26 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Precious and overwrought artsyfartsy nonsense, but I love nearly every minute of it. They are the number one example of a loved band where I can understand if someone thinks it's utter garbage. They're like really good Indian food. You either eat enough 'til you burst or spit out the first bite.

I probably differ from most fans, since I didn't think their middle period ('88-'93) was so hot. To me, their career was similar to the Comsat Angels and Throwing Muses in that they started hot, cooled off, and ended hot. That said, I maintain that the endless murk and cheap rhythms of Garlands are totally bitchen. Same regard is held for Milk and Kisses, which most people tend to sour on.

Paging Mr. Raggett...

Andy, Thursday, 26 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Ha! I'm summoned! Oh, just feel free to browse the AMG entries for them and that about says it all.

There's more variety in their work than most give them credit for, I think, and while there are certainly patchy albums here and there, _Treasure_, _Victorialand_ and _Heaven or Las Vegas_ alone touch me and cut to the quick. Oh yeah, and "The Spangle Maker" single and the _Aikea-Guinea_ EP and "Pink Orange Red" and...

I like the meringue comparison, but no. The Victorian mentions, album title aside, can be laid at the feet of Vaughn Oliver's art. It's all about taking something dank and making it beautiful while keeping the heft, and about making something that *shouldn't* work -- incomprehensible lyrics, an emphasis on effects over clear melody -- work like a charm. Wouldn't change a single thing about 'em.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 26 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Dude. That first track on _Milk and Kisses_ alone makes them a classic.

Dan Perry, Thursday, 26 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Let's make three AMG writers in a row (provided no one else slips in ahead of me). Classic. Classic! CLASSIC! But again, I understand why others wouldn't really get into it: lyrically speaking, it's hard to get a grasp on, which could make it seem overly precious. I disagree that it's incomprehensible, as many have asserted. If you listen to a lot of it, you can begin to pick out phrases. It's more like a mystery than an affectation, to me...the more I listen to the Cocteaus, the more I discover. That's why I found Four Calendar Cafe disappointing: you could make out too much. But I love almost everything else, with the highlights being Heaven or Las Vegas, Sunburst and Snowblind, virtually all of the singles included in the singles box, and yes, even Milk and Kisses.

Sean Carruthers, Thursday, 26 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Dan! You wrecked the triad...but since I agree with your comment, I won't complain too hard.

Sean Carruthers, Thursday, 26 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Good, but do they write songs in anything other than 6/8?

DG, Thursday, 26 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Why mess with perfection? But yes, they do.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 26 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I know, I was being cheeky. :)

DG, Thursday, 26 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Classic. Heaven or las vegas got me out of the moz-mania. And then internet got me out of the cocteau-mania. Is that wrong? :] Still haven't heard garlands, and I don't think I want to. But as for c-o-d, classic.

fernando, Saturday, 28 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

seven months pass...
classic, imho. although my email address might give away my bias. good stuff from all periods. milk and kisses is a little weak, but there are good tracks on this one too. i would have thought that more people would have mentioned blue bell knoll, which i like quite a bit. as with other music, mood dictates which cocteau twins album i will pull for a spin.

jmh, Wednesday, 12 December 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Classic of course. They are one of those rare great bands which created a sound which is their own. Their sound is like a parallel universe. Music to forget the world around you. It is dreamy, fairy- tale like and so lulling. It must be the perfect music for babies rocking in the cradle. But I must admit that they started to get on my nerves in 1996 with their last album "Milk and Kisses". Suddenly the magic was gone and they were repeating themselves. I would have liked them to finish with a stronger album. When I first listened to them (and this was "Heaven or Las Vegas", my later favourite) their music sounded so dull so that I can understand Tom. But after a while it clicked. Similar to Belle and Sebastian's "Sinister" which I did not find special in the beginning. Additionally they expanded my English. Now I know what ethereal is.

alex in mainhattan, Wednesday, 12 December 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Classic, but with some dips into dudness. "Treasure" is still (just) in my all-time Top10 LPs. They put out way too much stuff in 1985-6, only half of which was any good. But then a roaring return to form with Blue Bell Knoll & Heaven And Las Vegas. After that, patchy again.

Jeff W, Wednesday, 12 December 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I changed my mind back again - the odd track mixed in with some other stuff is great, a whole album unbearable. Too cloying - too samey. They're a gnat's chuff away from grateness on a maybe half a dozen tracks - the one off Treasure (Lorelei? I never remember the silly titles)which couples a soaring breathy Liz with a kinda Glam stomp in slo-mo is damn near close to perfection. If Guthrie's production could have mixed the cotton woolly maximum flange which he uses all the time with an occasional sharper focus it would sound 100 times better. Contrast, see?

Dr.C, Wednesday, 12 December 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

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

justin case, Friday, 18 January 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

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 (eighteen years ago) link

does no one around here rate head over heels? i think it's easily their best record. "sugar hiccup"'s a bit like the sugarcube's "birthday" 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 (eighteen years ago) link

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

Andy K., Friday, 18 January 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

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 (eighteen years ago) link

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 (eighteen years ago) link

one year passes...

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 (sixteen years ago) link

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 (sixteen years ago) link

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 (sixteen years ago) link

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

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

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 (sixteen years ago) link

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 (sixteen years ago) link

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 (sixteen years ago) link

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 (sixteen years ago) link

one 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 (fifteen years ago) link

Please do!

Seb (Seb), Friday, 12 November 2004 06:49 (fifteen years ago) link

It should be a very placid evening.

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Friday, 12 November 2004 06:50 (fifteen years ago) link

Yes tell us what happens, Kyle.

Bimble (bimble), Friday, 12 November 2004 08:03 (fifteen years ago) link

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 (fifteen years ago) link

two 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 (fifteen years ago) link

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 (fifteen years ago) link

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 (fifteen years ago) link

recorded, classic. live... dud.

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

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 (fifteen years ago) link

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 (fifteen years ago) link

Off to the desert!

Ned Raggett (Ned), Monday, 31 January 2005 14:52 (fifteen years ago) link

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 (fifteen years ago) link

I have now realised if she had done The Spangle Maker, Hitherto or From The Flagstones then I think I would have physically wept. And cursed humanity. And gone hone and died.

I am looking for minor plusses, she didn't butcher my absolute favourites. (Say it out loud, never liked Pearly Dewdrops that much.)

passive-aggressive display name (aldo), Sunday, 5 August 2012 18:23 (eight years ago) link

I'm not a huge fan of Harold Budd but doesn't that packaging remind you of running to the record store every time a new 4AD came out?

I'm such a stan for Head over Heels...I guess because it is so un-pop and everyone likes the more accessible albums. I like the crazy sludge of it.

I have no horse in the race - I don't go to reunion gigs as a general rule though I will say that Mission of Burma have basically written the textbook on How To Do A Reunion And Emerge With All Your Dignity Intact - but I have to say that lines like this

The audience doesn't help, as it mainly comprises late 40s/50somethings that look like the closest they've got to live music since the days of their youth was watching Alan Metcalfe down the wine bar doing Mary Hopkin numbers

cast a cloud of suspicion over the rest of the review; it's the sort of observation that suggests the author was looking for something more than music from the gig, which the gig could only have delivered by featuring a fountain of youth at the entrance.

steven fucking tyler (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Sunday, 5 August 2012 20:02 (eight years ago) link

Think what you like -admittedly that's the sort of thing in a paid review that would raise my hackles too - but it was one of the strangest crowds I've seen. The woman from two doors up the street was there, for example, and she never goes out to see music.

Take my Bad News reference out and think instead that I'm trying to evoke how old EVERYBODY was. Like they were searching for your fountain of youth, or their own, preserved in amber since 1990.

passive-aggressive display name (aldo), Sunday, 5 August 2012 20:14 (eight years ago) link

Also when you're told to TURN UP AT 7 WITHOUT FAIL for a show with no support that doesn't start till 8:45 and with only one room then there isn't much else to do but observe other people.

passive-aggressive display name (aldo), Sunday, 5 August 2012 20:19 (eight years ago) link

Where's the DiS review/discussion? I cant see a thing.

Pureed Moods (Trayce), Monday, 6 August 2012 01:02 (eight years ago) link

I know it's not what this revive is about, but there's something just overwhelmingly sweet about that Columbus, Ohio news spot--the open-mindedness and optimism are like a best case scenario for the stereotypical "liberal media."

Pete Scholtes, Monday, 6 August 2012 01:29 (eight years ago) link

Thanks so much for the review, aldo, even if it confirmed my worst fears about Liz' current state as a performer.
I can't help but think that there are very few scenarios outside of reuniting with CT in which she could give a great performance - and even that would seem to depend on many factors. What a beautiful tragedy, her musical relationship with Robin Guthrie.

I don't think she's doing herself any favors (as a musician) with the company she's keeping these days (her 'touring band'). I tend to find her infinitely more effective as a singer when she's working with a very singular sound palette. And really, what are the chances that a standard rock band set up is going to achieve something half as striking as CT?

So, her voice is not what it used to be. I don't think that stopped her from turning in knockout performances with Massive Attack (as recently as 2006). Short of a one-in-a-million chance that CT could successfully reunite and capture that lighting again, I think Liz could still do some beautiful work with the right electronic producer.

I could see a Burial collaboration producing stunning results - especially now that his work has veered into more ambient territory.

azaera, Monday, 6 August 2012 04:02 (eight years ago) link

I've been thinking about this and I think it might be a little unfair to be disappointed because it wasn't a Cocteau Twins gig, which is kind of what you're saying aldo. I mean, I get why! But I think its fair that she should be allowed to move into new territory and if her voice is gentler now, then well, thats as it is. TBH I'd rather that that the bizarre scatsinging donkey-yelp phase she went through during the mid 90s tours.

I mean, even the Massive Attack stuff was just her quieter higher register (esp on "teardrop"). Last time I think Ive heard her really belt something out was that bootleg "all flowers" thingy she did with Jeff B.

Pureed Moods (Trayce), Monday, 6 August 2012 04:28 (eight years ago) link

You're right, and now I've slept on it again that was really one of the major factors - but to a degree making the comparison isn't surprising when half the set is Cocteau Twins songs.

OK, the reality is that the new material is Real Worlds Peter Gabriel world music stuff and is not for me. The CTs songs have been redressed in the same style. It's not something I would choose to listen to and the name Liz Fraser (which, if we're admitting she's not the same singer she was is all it is - a name) isn't enough to make me or win me over. And Song To The Siren was rotten, no matter who was singing it.

The fixable stuff needs to be - turn Liz up, turn the backing singers WAY down, turn the guitar up (and maybe add more Chorus), mix the bass properly, increase the size of the drum baffle, lose the keyboards altogether. But then that's mixing it back to how I think it should be, and not the target audience (whoever that is) so maybe don't do any of that either.

I'll be intrigued to see what other people think. I know of one ILXor going tonight and I told him not to read this, and that I wasn't discussing it with him till afterwards so his opinion won't be coloured by this.

passive-aggressive display name (aldo), Monday, 6 August 2012 09:14 (eight years ago) link

piscesx, Monday, 6 August 2012 23:22 (eight years ago) link

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 (eight years ago) link

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 (eight years ago) link

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 (eight years ago) link

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 (eight years ago) link

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 (eight years ago) link

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 (eight years ago) link

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 (eight years ago) link

^^ 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 (eight years ago) link

Invoking Billy M is good enough for me!

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 8 August 2012 00:03 (eight years ago) link

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 (eight years ago) link

the guy's other video*

half-worm inchworm tapeworm (donna rouge), Wednesday, 8 August 2012 00:15 (eight years ago) link

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 (eight years ago) link

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 (eight years ago) link

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 (eight years ago) link

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 (eight years ago) link

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

Pureed Moods (Trayce), Wednesday, 8 August 2012 10:42 (eight years ago) link

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 (eight years ago) link

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 (eight years ago) link

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

Pureed Moods (Trayce), Wednesday, 8 August 2012 11:18 (eight years ago) link

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 (eight years ago) link

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 (eight years ago) link

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 (eight years ago) link

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 (eight years ago) link

dame can dance

Author ~ Coach ~ Goddess (s1ocki), Thursday, 9 August 2012 19:26 (eight years ago) link

Ain't that a smack in the calfskin.

Andy K, Thursday, 9 August 2012 19:28 (eight years ago) link

two years pass...

i wonder why she never played live since; i wonder if she read this thread.

piscesx, Sunday, 31 May 2015 02:54 (five years ago) link

three months pass...

Haha, welcome back, Hitler reacts meme! This is a good one:

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 12 September 2015 16:00 (four years ago) link

four years pass...

1987 looks like a big blank space in the history of the band, surprising how heavy their output was in the preceding years. What were they doing in that year? (Besides a great deal of coke in the case of poor Robin Guthrie.) Did they tour actively in 1987 even if they weren't putting anything out for nearly a two-year period?

Melomane, Wednesday, 15 April 2020 18:06 (three months ago) link

They bought a unit in a warehouse in North Acton and built their own studio, roping in Dif Juz to do the plastering :) I think they just spent a chunk of '87 doing that.

Crushed was on Lonely As An Eyesore in '87, but I think that dates from the Love's Easy Tears sessions.

Michael Jones, Wednesday, 15 April 2020 18:34 (three months ago) link

they were just really into Inspector Morse that year

avellano medio inglés (f. hazel), Wednesday, 15 April 2020 18:47 (three months ago) link

Guthrie was doing some producing that year:The Gun Club. AR Kane.

SQUIRREL MEAT!! (Capitaine Jay Vee), Wednesday, 15 April 2020 19:29 (three months ago) link

Guthrie was doing some producing that year:The Gun Club. AR Kane.

SQUIRREL MEAT!! (Capitaine Jay Vee), Wednesday, 15 April 2020 19:29 (three months ago) link

They didn't tour for 3-4 years in the late 80s.

While I'm here... here's 50 odd Cocteau Twins gigs!

Non, je ned raggette rien (onimo), Wednesday, 15 April 2020 21:12 (three months ago) link

Holy shit, thanks

J. Sam, Thursday, 16 April 2020 00:19 (three months ago) link

three months pass...

This is accurate.

Created a new TikTok challenge: Cocteau Twins sing-a-long

— rebekah entralgo fernández (@rebekahentralgo) July 30, 2020

Ned Raggett, Friday, 31 July 2020 02:47 (one week ago) link

That’s great.

Chewshabadoo, Friday, 31 July 2020 14:18 (one week ago) link

I have been enjoying that tweet all morning

shout-out to his family (DJP), Friday, 31 July 2020 14:42 (one week ago) link

aw I thought there'd be more examples

A True White Kid that can Jump (Granny Dainger), Friday, 31 July 2020 16:26 (one week ago) link

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