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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
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Lullabies to Violaine, Vol. 1

Disc 1

1. Feathers-Oar-Blades

2. Alas Dies Laughing

3. It's All But An Ark Lark

4. Peppermint Pig (7" Version)

5. Laughlines

6. Hazel

7. Sugar Hiccup (12" Version)

8. From The Flagstones

9. Hitherto

10. Because Of Whirl-Jack

11. The Spangle Maker

12. Pearly-Dewdrops' Drops (Alternate Version)

13. Pepper-Tree

14. Aikea-Guinea (Alternate Version)

15. Kookaburra

16. Quisquose

17. Rococo

Disc 2

1. Pink Orange Red

2. Ribbed And Veined

3. Plain Tiger

4. Sultitan Itan

5. Great Spangled Fritillary

6. Melonella

7. Pale Clouded White

8. Eggs And Their Shells

9. Love's Easy Tears

10. Those Eyes, That Mouth

11. Sigh's Smell Of Farewell

12. Orange Appled

13. Iceblink Luck

14. Mizake The Mizan

15. Watchlar

x

Track List: Stars And Topsoil - A Collection 1982-1990

1. Blind Dumb Deaf

2. Sugar Hiccup

3. My Love Paramour

4. Pearly-dewdrops' Drops

5. Lorelei

6. Pandora

7. Aikea-Guinea

8. Pink Orange Red

9. Pale Clouded White

10. Lazy Calm

11. The Thinner the Air

12. Orange Appled

13. Cico Buff

14. Carolyn's Fingers

15. Fifty-fifty Clown

16. Iceblink Luck

17. Heaven or Las Vegas

18. Watchlar

x

Track List: BBC Sessions

Disc 1

1. Wax And Wane

2. Garlands

3. Alas Dies Laughing

7. Blind Dumb Deaf

8. Hazel

9. The Tinderbox (Of A Heart)

11. Hitherto

12. From The Flagstones

13. Sugar Hiccup

14. In Our Angelhood

16. Musette And Drums

Disc 2

1. Hitherto

2. From The Flagstones

3. Musette And Drums

4. Pepper-Tree

5. Beatrix

6. Ivo

7. Otterley

8. Serpentskirt

9. Golden-Vein

10. Half-Gifts

11. Seekers Who Are Lovers

12. Calfskin Smack

13. Fifty-Fifty Clown

14. Violaine

x

Track List: Milk And Kisses

1. Violaine

2. Serpentskirt

3. Tishbite

4. Half-Gifts

5. Calfskin Smack (Studio Version)

6. Rilkean Heart

7. Ups

8. Eperdu

9. Treasure Hiding

10. Seekers Who Are Lovers

x

Track List: Four-Calendar Cafe

1. Know Who You Are At Every Age

2. Evangeline

3. Bluebeard

4. Theft, And Wandering Aroundlost

5. Oil Of Angels

6. Squeeze-Wax

7. My Truth

8. Essence

9. Summerhead

10. Pur

x

Track List: Heaven or Las Vegas

1. Cherry-Coloured Funk

2. Pitch The Baby

3. Iceblink Luck

4. Fifty-Fifty Clown

5. Heaven Or Las Vegas

6. I Wear Your Ring

7. Fotzepolitic

8. Wolf In The Breast

9. Road, River And Rail

10. Frou-Frou Foxes In Midsummer Fires

x

Track List: Blue Bell Knoll

1. Blue Bell Knoll

2. Athol-Brose

3. Carolyn's Fingers

4. For Phoebe Still A Baby

5. The Itchy Glowbo Blow

6. Cico Buff

7. Suckling The Mender

8. Spooning Good Singing Gum

9. A Kissed Out Red Floatboat

10. Ella Megalast Burls Forever

x

Track List: The Pink Opaque

1. The Spangle Maker

2. Millimillenary

3. Wax And Wane

4. Hitherto

5. Pearly-Dewdrops' Drops

6. From The Flagstones

7. Aikea-Guinea

8. Lorelei

9. Pepper-Tree

10. Musette And Drums

x

Track List: Treasure

1. Ivo

2. Lorelei

3. Beatrix

4. Persephone

5. Pandora (For Cindy)

6. Amelia

7. Aloysius

8. Cicely

9. Otterley

10. Donimo

x

Track List: Garlands

1. Blood B**ch

2. Wax And Wane

3. But I'm Not

4. Blind Dumb Deaf

5. Shallow Then Halo

6. The Hollow Men

7. Garlands

8. Grail Overfloweth

x

Track List: Head Over Heels

1. When Mama Was Moth

2. Five Ten Fiftyfold

3. Sugar Hiccup

4. in Our Angelhood

5. Glass Candle Grenades

6. In the Gold Dust Rush

7. The Tinderbox (Of a Heart)

8. Multifoiled

9. My Love Paramour

10. Musette and Drums

x

Track List: Victorialand

1. Lazy Calm

2. Fluffy Tufts

3. Throughout the Dark Months of April And May

4. Whales Tails

5. Oomingmak

6. Little Spacey

7. Feet-like Fins

8. How to Bring a Blush to the Snow

9. The Thinner the Air

Comments

Report as inappropriate
jblackz69
I saw them in Santa Fe around 1992-3. Liz came out sipping tea, trying to clear her voice. When she sang, you could tell she was belting in out past the pain. Rough, but amazing power and beauty. One of my favorite shows!
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fdmcgeisey
Isn't it odd that so many of us know what music plays n heaven?
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80's Ghotic Rocks! B-)
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Garlands.... a b s o l u t e greatest album....and memories ever. Young punk boy and older goth girl haha
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Cool!
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This whole album takes me back to the winter of 1990... I was 20 and played this album over and over again... It's STILL one of my favorite albums...
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Love's easy tears ftw
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I remember listening to victorialand when hurricane Isaac was passing us at night. Best Acoustic recording ever. Just complements nature perfectly. Liz you will always rule
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I have to shut every annoyance around me when Blue Beard happens to appear.
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Very sublime!! Like it!! ;)
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Such a God's celestial voice songs!!(*.*)
Lov it Cocteau Twins!♡♡
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One doesn't question gossamer
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LOVE LOVE in Love with the Cocteau Twins...for life. Angelic....t h e y take me to another world...one that I cant wait to be in.
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Amen, clydebleslie . I was blown away the first time I heard Ivo, then got into the more nuanced stuff. Utterly fantastic. She and Lisa Gerrard are on a level of their own.
Report as inappropriate
Elizabeth's voice was touched by God.
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lovedelux201 2
I saw them as well at the wiltern in LA . i recall feeling so thrilled about the show the opened with blue bell knoll and it was glorious i saw them again at Bren events in irvine and at the Hollywood paladium. I adore Treasure and Victorialand . I know she workec with Peter Gabriele . I wish her to return .
Report as inappropriate
Apparently Liz Fraser has decided to quietly live life as a full time mom, and teaching an occasional singing class.....no t expecting a reunion. The first fine I heard them I was immediately blown away. I thought it was the most mesmerising thing I'd ever heard abd I guess I still feel that way. Saw them twice (Wiltern and UCI) with two additional guitarists fleshing out the sound with Lush and Galaxie 500 as the respective opening bands.
Report as inappropriate
I was fortunate to see them live twice before they broke up and also saw robin Guthrie live on his solo tour and talked to him one on one not about music just life and he was a very humble and interesting man I hope to see him again
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they are timeless
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progpond3
Another mainstay of that hard to define mid-80s 'scene' college radio, nobody called this 'shoegazer' though,
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progpond3
For some unknown reason I don't actually own any of their albums, but always been one of my favs from back in the day.....
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Heaven or Las Vegas hands down!
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The Twins..!!! There is no other....Wor l d without End........
Report as inappropriate
imomk1
My favorite. Have near all their music.
Report as inappropriate
johnwood30
They always have a special place in my heart.
Report as inappropriate
My most loved and influential group still inspires and soothes my soul.
Report as inappropriate
I want my lyrics
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The first time I heard them I was in 6th grade ,I said what the heck is this ,hooked for life ,the album love easy tears did it for
Report as inappropriate
this entire album is awesome. when I first heard her voice I was hooked for life.
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Excelente grupo!!!
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njhkp7
Road River Rail
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My favorite band for almost 30 years. True love is forever.
Report as inappropriate
Elisabeth Fraser and Lisa Gerrard, no one uses their voice as an instrument better.
Report as inappropriate
left out an ep in discography
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for your bucket list: experience elizabeth fraser's song to the siren
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Love, love, love, dreamy love.
Report as inappropriate
Treasure Hiding Sounds Similar to their other song Pur. Both are Great!
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spensoid
This made my brain melt with ecstasy when it came out...
Report as inappropriate
i was really shocked to see lyrics for their songs since i always thought they just sang nonsense.
Report as inappropriate
This is what is played on the cob-webbed covered piano in the haunted house shunned by townsfolk. Brilliant.
Report as inappropriate
Elizabeth Fraser - Moses - check it out
Report as inappropriate
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.
Report as inappropriate
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.
Report as inappropriate
Jibberish sounds wonderful with Fraser sings it.
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1000 likes for the band but 40,000 in terms of influence.
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It also says Fotzepolitic is written by Lou Reed! WTF is the problem here?
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holly-hawk1
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 . .
Report as inappropriate
Just dig it And dig Cindytalk unless your afraid
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holly-hawk1
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.
Report as inappropriate
LOL. Pretty sure he didn't write it.
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