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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

Comments

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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........
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imomk1
My favorite. Have near all their music.
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johnwood30
They always have a special place in my heart.
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My most loved and influential group still inspires and soothes my soul.
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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
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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.
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Elisabeth Fraser and Lisa Gerrard, no one uses their voice as an instrument better.
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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.
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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...
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i was really shocked to see lyrics for their songs since i always thought they just sang nonsense.
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This is what is played on the cob-webbed covered piano in the haunted house shunned by townsfolk. Brilliant.
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Elizabeth Fraser - Moses - check it out
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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.
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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.
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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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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 . .
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Just dig it And dig Cindytalk unless your afraid
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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.
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LOL. Pretty sure he didn't write it.
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Iceblink really written by Lou Reed? Or just another Pandora mistake?
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Sublime!
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My favorite band. They've been in my rotation since 1984.
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Great music to put sex to
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Interesting bio. Love Robin Guthrie's solo work. Interesting connection to Nick Cave's band!
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thagerfl
Cocteau! timeless genius that cannot be compared!
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Dark, melodic, grungy, haunting... no happy chords here ;)
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love's easy tears...nuff said
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Best Band EVAR!
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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.
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Elizabeth Frazer is the instrument of all voice..... Ever!!!!
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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.
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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.
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Blue Bell Knoll is an amazing achievement in music.
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I DON'T BELIEVE THE GRACENOTES LYRIC SHEET IN THIS CASE!
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this music is GREAT A young lady named meRcy turned me on to them. She is as beautiful as their music
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If you like this type of music. I also rec amend Deep Forest.. They both are so AWESOME
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was that Cy Curnin singing with Liz?
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