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Cocteau Twins|Heaven or Las Vegas

Heaven or Las Vegas

Cocteau Twins

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After a prolific tear through the mid-'80s, the Cocteau Twins slowed down near the decade's end. Having released 5 albums and 8 standalone EPs between 1982 and 1986, they took an unheard-of two years to release Blue Bell Knoll, their first on U.S. major label Capitol Records, after which ... silence. There was no tour. No promo jaunt. Just a few magazine features and, if you were lucky to catch it on 120 Minutes, a music video featuring the group and their ever-faithful reel-to-reel machine. News reports surfaced that Elizabeth Fraser and Robin Guthrie had a baby, and that Simon Raymonde's father had died. Whispers circulated that Guthrie's cocaine habit was out of hand and that, despite the new baby, he and Fraser's relationship was in tatters. It would not have been surprising if the next thing the public heard from the Cocteau Twins was an announcement of their breakup.

Instead, in September 1990, they released Heaven or Las Vegas, an album that could easily stand as the best work in their entire catalog. (4AD label head Ivo Watts-Russell called it "a perfect record," though that didn't stop him from dropping the band a month after its release, due to irreconcilable personality differences.) Despite whatever turmoil and crisis was consuming the band at the time—and by all accounts, there was more than plenty—Heaven or Las Vegas shines and shimmers with a sense of emotional resonance and clarity that had previously never been fully realized on a Cocteau’s release. The pop songs here–"Iceblink Luck," "Fotzepolitic," the title track–are explosively joyful and irresistibly catchy. Guthrie's intricate, gossamer guitar work glides atop sturdy, forceful beats anchored by Raymonde's liquid basslines and Fraser's voice at its most expressive and expansive (and nearly intelligible). Meanwhile, midtempo, introspective tracks like "Fifty-Fifty Clown" and "I Wear Your Ring" and, especially, the heart-wrenching beauty of the album's final three tracks ("Wolf in the Breast," "Road, River and Rail," and "Frou-Frou Foxes in Midsummer Fires") traffic in an emotional purity that's as close to plain spoken as the group had ever been. And while the precise lyrical components are still quite cryptic, the impact is inarguable. Heaven or Las Vegas is pure flex on behalf of the Cocteau Twins, showing off everything they're capable of doing, all at once, and at the highest level. It would be a remarkable piece of art by any group, but for one that was literally falling apart at the time, it's a dizzying accomplishment. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz

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Heaven or Las Vegas

Cocteau Twins

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1
Cherry-coloured Funk
00:03:12

Elizabeth Fraser, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Robin Guthrie, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Cocteau Twins, MainArtist - Simon Raymonde, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Universal Music Publishing Ltd, MusicPublisher - Universal Music Publishing Group, MusicPublisher - CMRRA, MusicPublisher - Momentum 3 Music, MusicPublisher

2014 4AD Ltd 2014 4AD Ltd

2
Pitch the Baby
00:03:16

Elizabeth Fraser, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Robin Guthrie, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Cocteau Twins, MainArtist - Simon Raymonde, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Universal Music Publishing Ltd, MusicPublisher - Universal Music Publishing Group, MusicPublisher - CMRRA, MusicPublisher - Momentum 3 Music, MusicPublisher

2014 4AD Ltd 2014 4AD Ltd

3
Iceblink Luck
00:03:19

Elizabeth Fraser, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Robin Guthrie, Composer, AssociatedPerformer - Cocteau Twins, MainArtist - Simon Raymonde, Composer, AssociatedPerformer - Universal Music Publishing Ltd, MusicPublisher - Universal Music Publishing Group, MusicPublisher - CMRRA, MusicPublisher - Momentum 3 Music, MusicPublisher

2014 4AD Ltd 2014 4AD Ltd

4
Fifty-fifty Clown
00:03:16

Elizabeth Fraser, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Robin Guthrie, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Cocteau Twins, MainArtist - Simon Raymonde, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Universal Music Publishing Ltd, MusicPublisher - Universal Music Publishing Group, MusicPublisher - CMRRA, MusicPublisher - Momentum 3 Music, MusicPublisher

2014 4AD Ltd 2014 4AD Ltd

5
Heaven or Las Vegas
00:04:57

Elizabeth Fraser, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Robin Guthrie, Composer, AssociatedPerformer - Cocteau Twins, MainArtist - Simon Raymonde, Composer, AssociatedPerformer - Universal Music Publishing Ltd, MusicPublisher - Universal Music Publishing Group, MusicPublisher - CMRRA, MusicPublisher - Momentum 3 Music, MusicPublisher

2014 4AD Ltd 2014 4AD Ltd

6
I Wear Your Ring
00:03:41

Elizabeth Fraser, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Robin Guthrie, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Cocteau Twins, MainArtist - Simon Raymonde, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Universal Music Publishing Ltd, MusicPublisher - Universal Music Publishing Group, MusicPublisher - CMRRA, MusicPublisher - Momentum 3 Music, MusicPublisher

2014 4AD Ltd 2014 4AD Ltd

7
Fotzepolitic
00:03:33

Elizabeth Fraser, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Robin Guthrie, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Cocteau Twins, MainArtist - Simon Raymonde, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Universal Music Publishing Ltd, MusicPublisher - Universal Music Publishing Group, MusicPublisher - CMRRA, MusicPublisher - Momentum 3 Music, MusicPublisher

2014 4AD Ltd 2014 4AD Ltd

8
Wolf in the Breast
00:03:31

Elizabeth Fraser, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Robin Guthrie, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Cocteau Twins, MainArtist - Simon Raymonde, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Universal Music Publishing Ltd, MusicPublisher - Universal Music Publishing Group, MusicPublisher - CMRRA, MusicPublisher - Momentum 3 Music, MusicPublisher

2014 4AD Ltd 2014 4AD Ltd

9
Road, River and Rail
00:03:19

Elizabeth Fraser, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Robin Guthrie, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Cocteau Twins, MainArtist - Simon Raymonde, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Universal Music Publishing Ltd, MusicPublisher - Universal Music Publishing Group, MusicPublisher - CMRRA, MusicPublisher - Momentum 3 Music, MusicPublisher

2014 4AD Ltd 2014 4AD Ltd

10
Frou-frou Foxes in Midsummer Fires
00:05:48

Elizabeth Fraser, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Robin Guthrie, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Cocteau Twins, MainArtist - Simon Raymonde, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Universal Music Publishing Ltd, MusicPublisher - Universal Music Publishing Group, MusicPublisher - CMRRA, MusicPublisher - Momentum 3 Music, MusicPublisher

2014 4AD Ltd 2014 4AD Ltd

Presentación del Álbum

After a prolific tear through the mid-'80s, the Cocteau Twins slowed down near the decade's end. Having released 5 albums and 8 standalone EPs between 1982 and 1986, they took an unheard-of two years to release Blue Bell Knoll, their first on U.S. major label Capitol Records, after which ... silence. There was no tour. No promo jaunt. Just a few magazine features and, if you were lucky to catch it on 120 Minutes, a music video featuring the group and their ever-faithful reel-to-reel machine. News reports surfaced that Elizabeth Fraser and Robin Guthrie had a baby, and that Simon Raymonde's father had died. Whispers circulated that Guthrie's cocaine habit was out of hand and that, despite the new baby, he and Fraser's relationship was in tatters. It would not have been surprising if the next thing the public heard from the Cocteau Twins was an announcement of their breakup.

Instead, in September 1990, they released Heaven or Las Vegas, an album that could easily stand as the best work in their entire catalog. (4AD label head Ivo Watts-Russell called it "a perfect record," though that didn't stop him from dropping the band a month after its release, due to irreconcilable personality differences.) Despite whatever turmoil and crisis was consuming the band at the time—and by all accounts, there was more than plenty—Heaven or Las Vegas shines and shimmers with a sense of emotional resonance and clarity that had previously never been fully realized on a Cocteau’s release. The pop songs here–"Iceblink Luck," "Fotzepolitic," the title track–are explosively joyful and irresistibly catchy. Guthrie's intricate, gossamer guitar work glides atop sturdy, forceful beats anchored by Raymonde's liquid basslines and Fraser's voice at its most expressive and expansive (and nearly intelligible). Meanwhile, midtempo, introspective tracks like "Fifty-Fifty Clown" and "I Wear Your Ring" and, especially, the heart-wrenching beauty of the album's final three tracks ("Wolf in the Breast," "Road, River and Rail," and "Frou-Frou Foxes in Midsummer Fires") traffic in an emotional purity that's as close to plain spoken as the group had ever been. And while the precise lyrical components are still quite cryptic, the impact is inarguable. Heaven or Las Vegas is pure flex on behalf of the Cocteau Twins, showing off everything they're capable of doing, all at once, and at the highest level. It would be a remarkable piece of art by any group, but for one that was literally falling apart at the time, it's a dizzying accomplishment. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz

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