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Cocteau Twins

A group whose distinctly ethereal and gossamer sound virtually defined the enigmatic image of the record label 4AD, Cocteau Twins were founded in Grangemouth, Scotland, in 1979. Taking their name from an obscure song from fellow Scots Simple Minds, the Cocteaus were originally formed by guitarist Robin Guthrie and bassist Will Heggie and later rounded out by Guthrie's girlfriend Elizabeth Fraser, an utterly unique performer whose swooping, operatic vocals relied less on any recognizable language than on the subjective sounds and textures of verbalized emotions.

In 1982, the trio signed to 4AD, the arty British label then best known as the home of the Birthday Party, whose members helped the Cocteaus win a contract. The group debuted with Garlands, which offered an embryonic taste of their rapidly developing, atmospheric sound, crafted around Guthrie's creative use of distorted guitars, tape loops, and echo boxes and anchored in Heggie's rhythmic bass as well as an omnipresent Roland 808 drum machine. Shortly after the release of the Peppermint Pig EP, Heggie left the group, and Guthrie and Fraser cut 1983's Head Over Heels as a duo; nonetheless, the album largely perfected the Cocteaus' gauzy formula, and established the foundation from which the group would continue to work for the duration of its career.

In late 1983, ex-Drowning Craze bassist Simon Raymonde joined the band to record the EP The Spangle Maker; as time wore on, Raymonde became an increasingly essential component of Cocteau Twins, gradually assuming an active role as a writer, arranger, and producer. With their lineup firmly solidified, they issued The Spangle Maker, followed by the LP Treasure, their most mature and consistent work yet. A burst of creativity followed, as the Twins issued three separate EPs -- Aikea-Guinea, Tiny Dynamine, and Echoes in a Shallow Bay -- in 1985, trailed a year later by the acoustic Victorialand album, the Love's Easy Tears EP, and The Moon and the Melodies, a collaborative effort with minimalist composer Harold Budd.

With 1988's sophisticated Blue Bell Knoll, the trio signed an international contract with Capitol Records, which greatly elevated their commercial visibility. After 1990's Heaven or Las Vegas, the Cocteaus severed their long-standing relationship with 4AD; notably, the album also found Fraser's vocals offering the occasional comprehensible turn of phrase, a trend continued on 1993's Four-Calendar Cafe. In 1995, they explored a pair of differing musical approaches on simultaneously released EPs: while Twinlights offered subtle acoustic sounds, Otherness tackled ambient grooves, remixed by Seefeel's Mark Clifford. On the other hand, 1996's Milk & Kisses LP marked a return to the band's archetypal style. Cocteau Twins quietly disbanded while working on an uncompleted follow-up. Posthumous releases followed, such as 1999's BBC Sessions, 2000's Stars and Topsoil, and 2005's Lullabies to Violaine. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

i was really shocked to see lyrics for their songs since i always thought they just sang nonsense.
This is what is played on the cob-webbed covered piano in the haunted house shunned by townsfolk. Brilliant.
Elizabeth Fraser - Moses - check it out
Tell 'em kellin218! ..although, my understandin g is that they are words, it's just about how she sings them that makes em sound like gibberish.
kellin218
Yeah, someone needs to fact check on Pandora. Too bad we can't report errors.. Like, the fact that MOST Cocteau Twins lyrics -arent- lyrics. The so-called lyrics shown for Millimillena r y are utterly laughably wrong.
Jibberish sounds wonderful with Fraser sings it.
1000 likes for the band but 40,000 in terms of influence.
It also says Fotzepolitic is written by Lou Reed! WTF is the problem here?
Afraid of what? I like the sound of her voice - and who is Cindy? I was talking about Elizabeth Fraser.....Y o u are an odd one, but never mind as long as you are a fan of hers - all is well. Dig it?.....Dig it?....Uh... h u h . .
Just dig it And dig Cindytalk unless your afraid
I never know what shes jibbering about but thats not the point - they are frickin' unique is the point. No one was making this kind of music when they started. They created a whole genre of music that came after them. They are beautiful background music, I cook while listening to them - among other things. My mother in her 70's likes it also.
LOL. Pretty sure he didn't write it.
Iceblink really written by Lou Reed? Or just another Pandora mistake?
Sublime!
My favorite band. They've been in my rotation since 1984.
Great music to put sex to
Interesting bio. Love Robin Guthrie's solo work. Interesting connection to Nick Cave's band!
thagerfl
Cocteau! timeless genius that cannot be compared!
Dark, melodic, grungy, haunting... no happy chords here ;)
love's easy tears...nuff said
Best Band EVAR!
Both Thievery Corporation and Cocteau Twins feature songs with strong melodic notes and breathy female vocals. A channel with Thievery Corporation will often cycle into Massive Attack, and given that Massive Attack used Elizabeth Frazer as their vocalist for an album or two, a few Cocteau Twins songs will invariably get cycle time on the same channel as well, notably Squeeze-Wax and Blue Bell Knoll.
Elizabeth Frazer is the instrument of all voice..... Ever!!!!
dreamsinthel o w l i g h t s
I don't find Thievery Corporation having anything to do with the sound world that Cocteau Twins occupied. Pandora administrato r s failed with that one.
I will always listen to Cocteau Twins! They remove me and place me in another sphere especially when I loaded the pipe in '79 but even without Puff they do the job now.
Blue Bell Knoll is an amazing achievement in music.
I DON'T BELIEVE THE GRACENOTES LYRIC SHEET IN THIS CASE!
this music is GREAT A young lady named meRcy turned me on to them. She is as beautiful as their music
If you like this type of music. I also rec amend Deep Forest.. They both are so AWESOME
was that Cy Curnin singing with Liz?
paisleyart
What a shame that they don't still make music. When my dad died in the early 90's my best friend comforted me with the Cocteau Twins reminding me that this must be the music played in heaven.
One of the greatest bands ever!!!
I have been listening to them since the early 90,s... how wonderful there music is
livingstone0 7
joyful
alfredoloves l i f e
Their music brings me happiness and extraordinar y memories ...
This is my all-time favorite band
People sometimes Beach House has been influence by cctwins. If you are tired of bios and want unadulterate d opinion and arbitrary statements go to: musicorelse. w e e b l y . c o m The Twins are eternal.
Saying that all the Cocteau Twins music sounds alike is like saying all The Cure's music sounds the same. They've created and evolved their own sound throughout the years just as any other band worth it's salt would.
Blissful Dreams
I love the Cocteau Twins but so much of their music sounds alike. You can't tell one from the other. They can be very reduntant. But when they step outside the box of familiar comfort and take a risk they are HOT!!!
EARLY COCTEAU TWINS WAS THE BEST, SINCE THEN EVERYTHING HAS BEEN A REPEAT OF THEIR BEGINNING YEARS.
i love them .i remember i got head over heels.and fell in love w-them .many years ago.no one else has a voice like liz.....
Heaven Being Heard.
falch6
Elizabeth is my favorite siren!!!Beau t y and Grace personified.
I used to listen and be a hugh Twins fan (and still am) back in the late 90's. Good to hear them again on Pandora. Saw them live too a few times which was awesome.
fortressmead o w 8 1 3
With the vast variety and brilliant array of bands that come, go and maybe stay the Cocteau Twins remain the one I listen to most. New favorites constantly pop up and it always amazes me that anything unique and deeply compelling (Sigur Ros for example) can ever emerge again yet still, what Elizabeth Fraser did with language will forever haunt me in the most longing filled way...foreve r drowning in their mystery
LOVE YOU <3
barkenn
Great band. Saw them in Tampa while tripping my balls off. Later that night accidentally knocked over Henry Winkler. A night to (barely) remember.
Shoegazer forever
I owned Garlands and Heaven or Las Vegas as a teen, Let's just say they greatly influenced every facet of my life back then. No one really comes close to what they did.
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