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Alternative & Indie - Released July 14, 2014 | 4AD

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Reissue
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Alternative & Indie - Released July 14, 2014 | 4AD

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Alternative & Indie - Released July 26, 2004 | 4AD

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Deciding to scale back the overly pretty sound on Blue Bell Knoll while experimenting with more accessibility -- -- the Twins ended up creating their best album since Treasure. From the start, Heaven... is simply fantastic: on "Cherry-Coloured Funk," Guthrie's inimitable guitar work chimes leading a low-key but forceful rhythm, while Raymonde's grand bass work fleshes it out. Fraser simply captivates; her vocals are the clearest, most direct they've ever been, purring with energy and life. Many songs have longer openings and closings; rather than crashing fully into a song and then quickly ending, instead the trio carefully builds up and eases back. These songs are still quite focused, though, almost sounding like they were recorded live instead of being assembled in the studio. Due credit has to be given to the Cocteaus' drum programming; years of working with the machines translated into the detailed work here, right down to the fills. "Fifty-Fifty Clown," starting with an ominous bass throb, turns into a lovely showcase for Fraser's singing and Guthrie's more restrained playing. But the Twins don't completely turn their back on Knoll's sound; "Iceblink Luck," has the same lush feeling and a newfound energy -- the instrumental break is almost a rave-up! -- and everything pulses to a fine conclusion. There are many moments of sheer Cocteaus beauty and power, including the title track, with its great chorus, and two spotlight Guthrie solos: "Fotzepolitic," a powerful number building to a rushing conclusion, and the album-ending "Frou Frou Foxes in Midsummer Fires." Possessing the same climactic sense of drama past disc-closers as "Donimo" and "The Thinner the Air," it's a perfect way to end a perfect album. © Ned Raggett /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 19, 1988 | 4AD

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Alternative & Indie - Released March 20, 2020 | 4AD

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Garlands, the first album by the Cocteau Twins published in September 1982 by the 4AD record label lay the groundwork for that unique post-punk, shoegaze and dream pop combination that the Scottish band would develop until the early 90s. Liz Garland imposes a totally atypical vocal bolstered by a dreamy charisma and which would later see dizzying acrobatics, to which Robin Guthrie adds a wall of sound: his reverb-filled guitar paints electric and often impressionist landscapes. Guthrie also pilots the machines, notably an omnipresent TR-808 which offers a nice balance against the dreamlike guitar/voice solo. On the bass is Will Heggie, who would leave the adventure in due course, replaced in 1984 by Simon Raymonde who is more inspired in this field. In hindsight, even though Garlands remains one of the greatest albums of the 80s, these Cocteau Twins appear to still be searching for some identity, too stuck in the same universe as The Cure and Siouxsie & The Banshees. However, Liz Garland and Robin Guthrie would eventually cut their ties with the cold wave and broaden the colour of their sound to deliver gems such as Treasure (1984), Victorialand (1986), Blue Bell Knoll (1988) and Heaven or Las Vegas (1990). ©️ Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released November 1, 1984 | 4AD

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 31, 1983 | 4AD

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 17, 2015 | 4AD

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 1, 2020 | 4AD

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 14, 1986 | 4AD

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 10, 1986 | 4AD

The Moon and the Melodies is a collaboration between the Cocteau Twins and keyboardist/composer Harold Budd that fits soundly between the stylistic signatures of the two, both of whom make organic music that relies heavily on electronics. Budd's use of spacious treated piano and keyboard sounds (influenced by a previous collaborator, Brian Eno) combines with the Cocteau Twins' shimmering waves of guitars and Elizabeth Fraser's layered wordless vocals to create what amounts to a soundtrack to a dream about sleeping, with saxophones courtesy of Richard Thomas (of the now defunct Dif Juz) breathing further life into the music. Too bland to be the best introduction to the music of either, but a welcome addition to the collections of fans of both. © Peter Stepek /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 1993 | EMI

Cocteau Twins' first release following their exodus from the 4AD stable, Four-Calendar Café is also, tellingly, their most earthbound effort; as with Heaven or Las Vegas, the emphasis here is on substance as much as style -- "Evangeline," "Bluebeard," and "Know Who You Are at Every Age" continue the trio's advance into more accessible melodic and lyrical ground without sacrificing even an ounce of their trademark ethereality. © Jason Ankeny /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released July 17, 2015 | 4AD

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 10, 2003 | 4AD

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 13, 2006 | 4AD

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 16, 2000 | 4AD

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Pop - Released January 1, 1995 | EMI

Throughout the '80s, Cocteau Twins created some of the most beautiful and innovative music of the decade. Liz Fraser's uncanny, gossamer voice and Robin Guthrie's shimmery guitar work both garnered acclaim and inspired bands. Milk & Kisses finds the band in a comfortable rut; they've created, and now perfected, a style of music so distinctive that there seems to be little recent creative growth. The result is a beautiful, lush, but somewhat dated and unengaging sounding album that tends to wash over the listener without making any real impact. It is, however, everything that a Cocteau Twins album promises; hypnotic, dreamy, awash in ethereal voices, and delicate, liquid guitars. "Tishbite" in particular delivers an accessible dream pop sound that sounds nice while it's playing but fails to have anything really memorable about it, a problem that plagues most of Milk & Kisses. "Half-Gifts," "Rilkean Heart," and "Treasure Hiding" have an airy, otherwordly prettiness to them -- but that's about it. Necessary for Cocteau Twins diehards and potentially interesting to those that have never heard the band before, Milk & Kisses says nothing, but says it beautifully. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 2, 1984 | 4AD

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 4, 1985 | 4AD

The immediate follow-up to Treasure didn't match the effortless heights of that album, but still came darn close throughout, providing another brief, affecting precis of the trio at its best. The title track became another well-deserved Twins standard, a deceptively simple bass/guitar/drum combination driving away at its core, while Fraser sings beautifully over it all, matched by a swirl of Guthrie's production touches (piano, mock choir, and so forth). "Kookaburra" follows squarely in the path of faster Cocteaus tracks as "Because of Whirl-Jack," though here Fraser's vocals are more sweet and less dramatically piercing. Guthrie's guitar takes center stage here, starting the track with echoing swirls leading into the main riff. "Quisquose" puts piano up front as main accompaniment for one of Fraser's more adventurous vocals, mixing a high main lyric with a more free form performance set against it, calling to mind the slightly similar contrast in vocal takes on "Lorelei." The instrumental "Rococo" ends the EP with style, a quiet bass/percussion opening leading into one of Guthrie's trademark fusions of feedback, volume, and heavily-produced beauty. Raymonde's bass stands out strongly throughout as well, a fine combination. © Ned Raggett /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 13, 1986 | 4AD

The band's first full trio recording without guests since Echoes in a Shallow Bay, Tears has the group in a slight holding pattern, though not without some songs of merit. The title track has good performances from Guthrie and Raymonde both on their instruments, the former creating one of his trademark crystalline feedback washes for the chorus, as Fraser's voice swoops and swirls throughout. "Those Eyes, That Mouth" is the definite winner of the bunch, with Fraser's work the key factor. Her up-and-down yelps and cries on the verses establish the basic feelings, while her sudden shift to a more soothing wash of exultance on the chorus is striking, accentuated by the equally surging music as the song fades up and out. "Sigh's Smile of Farewell" is close to being run-of-the-mill for the Twins, but it's still good stuff, Guthrie's guitar sounding like bells and Fraser in good voice as ever. "Orange Appled" concludes the proceedings with an understated but strong rhythm punch and a great vocal/chime combination on the chorus from Fraser and Guthrie. © Ned Raggett /TiVo