The Listening List

Some more things I’ve listened to, without all the covers this time as I will never keep up if I do that every time:

20/04/2017 – 18/06/2017

Sufjan Stevens • Nico Muhly • Bryce Dessner • James McAlister – Planetarium
Slowdive – Pygmalion
Lambchop – Is A Woman
Kraftwerk – The Model
Portishead – Over
Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation
Slowdive – Souvlaki
Björk – Biophilia Remixes | Part Eight
The White Stripes – Under Great White Northern Lights
Forest Swords – Compassion
Delia Derbyshire And Elsa Stansfield – Circle Of Light
Slowdive – Just For A Day

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Nirvana – In Utero
Jonas Reinhardt, Jürgen Müller – The Encyclopedia Of Civilizations Vol. 1: Egypt
Nirvana – Nevermind
Sex Pistols – Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols
Zomby – With Love
Spiritualized – Amazing Grace 3 EPs Box Set
Slowdive – Slowdive
Sonic Youth – Sonic Nurse
Sonic Youth – Murray Street
The Future Sound Of London – Archived
The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead
The Smiths – Meat Is Murder
Mogwai – Rock Action
David Bowie – No Plan EP
The Smiths – The Boy With The Thorn In His Side
Cocteau Twins – Four-Calendar Café
Mew – Visuals
Cozmic Corridors – Cozmic Corridors
Steve Reich – LSO Percussion Ensemble – Sextet | Clapping Music | Music For Pieces Of Wood
Gorillaz – Plastic Beach
Asobi Seksu – Citrus
Gorillaz – Humanz
Atoms For Peace – Before Your Very Eyes.
Björk – Biophilia Remixes | Part Six
The Future Sound Of London – Archived : Environmental : Views
Field Music – Tones Of Town
Bjørn Torske – Nedi Myra
Faust (7) / Ulan Bator – Faust / Ulan Bator
Richard Pinhas, Camera (10) – Camera / Richard Pinhas
Actress – AZD
Cocteau Twins – Milk & Kisses
Mew – Frengers

Record Store Day 2017 (4)

I was back in town on Sunday and popped into the Record Shop just to see what was left from RSD. I picked up three things, two of which I meant to get on the day and one which was a bit of an impulse buy to be honest, this being:

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Field Music ‎– Tones Of Town
Label: Memphis Industries ‎– MI074LPX
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Limited Edition, Yellow
Country: UK
Released: 22 Apr 2017
Genre: Rock
Style: Pop Rock, Indie Rock

Tracklist
A1 Give It Lose It Take It 3:56
A2 Sit Tight 3:02
A3 Tones Of Town 3:05
A4 A House Is Not A Home 2:36
A5 Kingston 1:54
A6 Working To Work 2:51
B1 In Context 3:37
B2 A Gap Has Appeared 2:01
B3 Closer At Hand 2:29
B4 Place Yourself 3:02
B5 She Can Do What She Wants 3:06

I like it, but didn’t need it, I think I was seduced by the yellow vinyl.

The ones I’d originally intended to pick up were:

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Faust (7), Ulan Bator ‎– Untitled
Label: Bureau B ‎– BB263
Format: Vinyl, 12″, 45 RPM, Limited Edition
Country: Europe
Released: 22 Apr 2017
Genre: Rock
Style: Alternative Rock, Experimental

Tracklist
A1 –Faust (7) Serendipität 5:03
A2 –Faust (7) Dialog 4:34
B1 –Ulan Bator Bâton-Rouge 5:16
B2 –Ulan Bator Sakura 4:54

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Richard Pinhas, Camera (10) ‎– Camera / Richard Pinhas
Label: Bureau B ‎– BB264
Format: Vinyl, 12″, Maxi-Single
Country: Germany
Released: 22 Apr 2017
Genre: Electronic, Rock
Style: Krautrock, Space Rock, Experimental

Tracklist
A –Camera (10) Saftwehr
B –Richard Pinhas Dronz 5 – Hamburg

The last one, with the Richard Pinhas track was as a result of this: Richard Pinhas ‎– Reverse. As the tracks on the album are Dronz 1 – 4 and this seems to be an extension, the give away being that it’s called Dronz 5, I’m smart at spotting stuff like that.

Finally, I did a bad thing, sort of. I found a copy of ‘Four Calendar Cafe’ by the Cocteau Twins online and ordered it. There is a slight feeling of having copped out by not getting it on the day and buying it from somebody who seems to have only bought it to sell it, although, at £13 above the sticker price which includes shipping, it’s not a bad buy at all. Most of the others I’ve seen are twice the sticker price without shipping. It hasn’t arrived as yet but this is it:

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Cocteau Twins ‎– Four-Calendar Café
Label: Mercury ‎– 5735405, UMC ‎– 00602557354058
Format: 2 × Vinyl, LP, Album, Reissue, Purple
Country: Europe
Released: 22 Apr 2017
Genre: Electronic, Rock
Style: Alternative Rock, Downtempo, Ethereal

Tracklist
A1 Know Who You Are At Every Age 3:38
A2 Evangeline 4:29
A3 Bluebeard 3:54
A4 Theft, And Wandering Around Lost 4:30
A5 Oil Of Angels 4:37
B1 Squeeze-Wax 3:48
B2 My Truth 4:32
B3 Essence 3:01
B4 Summerhead 3:37
B5 Pur 5:02
C1 Mud And Dark 3:40
C2 Summer-Blink 3:09
C3 Bluebeard (Acoustic Version) 2:53
C4 Three Swept 3:36
D1 Ice Pulse 3:45
D2 Winter Wonderland 2:49
D3 Frosty The Snowman 2:55

The D-Side isn’t going to get much play time from me to be honest, not a big fan of Christmas songs.

So that is RSD 2017 pretty much done for me. I did see quite a number of items on the day that I could have picked up that are demanding ridiculous prices online right now, but I don’t really regret missing out on turning a quick profit. Although I have succumbed to buying one, and am thereby part of the fuel for the whole practice, I do feel the ones I might have picked up just to sell may have caused somebody who really wanted it to miss out, yes, the same as I have in the past, but two wrongs don’t make a right I guess, or something like that.

Record Store Day 2017 (3)

IMG_4868I queued at Head Records in Leamington Spa for just under an hour, which was absolutely fine, it really could have been worse. I have a problem with my neck, which means that standing up like that for an hour is rather painful, and I can’t take medication for it as if I do I can’t then legally drive, so I was pretty relieved to arrive at the front of the queue and finally get inside. It is really quite traumatic being in the queue, slowly approaching the entrance and watching people who have already been in leave with their albums as one of these people may be carrying the last copy of something you want. It is also a bit of an eye opener, I was genuinely surprised at some of the folk and how much they’d bought. One guy brought a helper to carry the stuff, she didn’t even go in the shop, just waited outside for her partner to come out and help with the carrying, I think he had somewhere in the region of 50 albums, which a conservative estimate would be in the region of £1000 worth, which is crazy and I immediately thought, ‘Re-Seller’ which may not be entirely fair, maybe he saved all year for this event, but I couldn’t possibly imagine why anybody would want 50 of the albums released, at best I might want 8, and that’s a stretch to be honest. Perhaps my tastes are less wide ranging than others, but 50, it seems a lot.

At the door, waiting to be let in, I tried to spy what was left on the shelves and was pretty
sure that two of them had already sold out. In the queue I’d watched a video the shop had posted showing the shelves and there was now a black space visible where I wanted there to be two albums. Here is that very video:

I arrived to both disappointment and delight. One of the five things I was hoping to pick up was already sold out, this being ‘Four Calendar Cafe’ by the Cocteau Twins, I had thought it might but was still holding out a little hope that there’d be one left. The delight came from there being one copy of ‘Milk & Kisses’ by The Cocteau Twins left, which was the first thing I picked up. One of five achieved, one definitely missed so three more possibilities to get. I mooched about for just a minute and then wnet to the next aisle, which was pretty rammed making looking on the lower shelves rather tricky, however, there was another of my 5, The Future Sound Of London – ‘Environments – Views’, a triple vinyl that was actually less money than I thought it would be and a numbered edition, which I hadn’t realised either, so things were looking up, two more to go.

The main album that I wanted of the two remaining to get was ‘Frengers’ by Mew, a run of 1500 in clear vinyl, pretty much like last years re-issue of ‘And the glass handed kites’. I couldn’t find it. I looked twice and the damn thing wasn’t there, so I did something I don’t normally do and asked. The member of staff who helped me was Molly, which I found out from their Facebook page. She dived into the crowd, went to the bottom shelf where I’d alredy looked twice and re-appeared with a copy. I thanked her both verbally and with a thumbs up as that cheered me up no end. Thanks again Molly. I was so cheered that I completely forgot to go for the fifth album, ‘Citrus’ by Asobi Seksu, but that’s OK as I was 50/50 about it.

On the way to the till I saw a copy of ‘AZD’ by Actress and picked that up as well, I almost had the week before but was undecided, however, I read some reviews and it scored highly, so now was as good a time as any and I had 4 new albums.

I then left the shop without looking for some of the 45’s and a couple of 12” singles I’d thought about getting as my neck was bloody killing me and I’d only been in there 10 minutes. I headed to the bottom of town and Seismic Records. I figured that it would still be busy but that the queue would have died down by now, I was wrong. I just couldn’t do it, not without medication, so I headed off to visit my Mum for an hour.

On the way home I drove past Seismic thinking I could park up and pop in, but the queue was the same size as before and I gave it a miss. A shame because I like that shop and IMG_4873want to support it, however, there were plenty of others doing just that already so that was OK.

When I arrived home the first thing I played was the Cocteau Twins, which held a little surprise for me as I didn’t know it had been pressed on white vinyl, so that was a bonus. I watched a youtube video a couple of days ago, one of those top tips on buying vinyl ones and it stated that coloured vinyl is a bad idea as the quality is lower, which I almost commented on as it’s bollocks, but I held back. I had listened to a podcast which had a guy on who had worked in pressing plants for years and he had said the exact opposite, with black vinyl you can get away with re-cycling offcuts and contaminants are not so much of an issue as they are hidden by the black but with coloured vinyl, single colour in particular, you can’t get away with it so they are generally as good as and often better than black. Anyway, I like coloured vinyl, I like black vinyl too. Picture Discs are a different prospect altogether though, they are crap. ‘Milk & Kisses’ came with a second disc of the singles from the same period which is really nice to have. I remember well seeing both albums on the racks when they came out and I do regret not buying them at the time. I had this idea in my head that by going to a major label the band had somehow sold out and that the music had suffered for it, I was entirely wrong of course but they did release a Christmas single which I also saw and never bought, which is a shame as I would have made a big profit if I had and would have had no problem selling it (it was ‘Frosty The Snowman/Winter Wonderland’ in case you wondered). The two albums had been selling for about £150/200, I wonder if those prices will be sustainable now these re-issues with extra tracks have become available.

Here is a bit of ‘Milk & Kisses’ playing on my own deck.

On RSD 2016 I was hugely disappointed to not get a copy of ‘and the glass handed kites’ by Mew, although I did manage to get a reasonably priced copy about 6 months later, but picking up ‘Frengers’ today was great as it has an online price of £50-£60, sometimes more. I have never really been able to understand why Mew aren’t huge, though for many selfish reasons I’m glad they aren’t. The album closer ‘Comforting Sounds’ is one of my favourite tracks and listening to it on vinyl today has been great. I think I got the last, or only copy but am not sure as I didn’t even see it on the shelf. Here is a little snippet of ‘comforting sounds’:

I sort of collect The Future Sound Of London which goes back to the Cocteau Twins as Elizabeth Frasier sang on the ‘Lifeforms’ single (which is really a mini album) and which I bought when it was released. About a year and a half ago I listened to it again, and not just for the Elizabeth Frasier bit, and found that I liked the whole of it more than I had remembered. This led me to picking up other bits and pieces when I saw them, although some are rather expensive, the ‘Lifeforms’ album and ‘Dead Cities’ being good examples, usually over £60 a copy. Recently I’ve been buying their series ‘Environments’ which is seven albums (although numbered 1-6 and then a 6.5) which has Environments 3 not available on vinyl when the others are, annoying. So this RSD triple was a must. I’ve yet to listen to it apart from the bit you can hear below, I’m looking forward to the rest of it.

Finally there’s the non-RSD album by Actress – ‘AZD’ which the reviews were absolutely right about. It is wonderfully crafted and after only one listen I’m loving it. Part of the reason for this is the album ‘6’ by FP-Oner, which I received from That Special Record as part of my subscription, I didn’t like it at first but with repeated playing it really grew on me and there are parts of the Actress album that remind me of it so I had a point of reference right away, which I hadn’t really had when listening to ‘6’ for the first time.

I do wish I’d had the stamina to queue at Sesimic but all in all it’s been a pretty successful RSD 2017 for me and I know sit in the garden, enjoying the beautiful weather and writning this up while listening to FSOL – Environments 4. Can’t complain really. I hope everybody got at least one thing they wanted.

  • featured image stolen from Head records Instagram.

Record Fair: Rugby Town Hall

I went to  record fair in Rugby this morning at the town hall. It’s very impressive size wise from the outside but I went in the side and in to a rather small room that had 8 stalls. There were the usual stalls with volume at a low price but with little of interest, lots of 80’s stuff that wasn’t very good then and hasn’t improved with time. There were also a couple of stalls with some really good stuff, I could have spent several hundred pounds at these if I had that sort of disposable income, which I don’t, so I had to be rather selective.

The first thing I bought was the only Radiohead album I don’t have on vinyl, Pablo Honey, their debut. It’s a re-issue but it’s on coloured vinyl, which suits me fine as I do love a bit of coloured vinyl.

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I know Radiohead have issues with the song ‘Creep’ but I was quite surprised to see this one has 154 million views on youtube, which suggests it might be quite popular.

From the same stall I bought ‘Kiss Me’ Kiss Me’ Kiss Me’ by the cure, not in the best of condition but OK. It’s one of my favourite Cure albums so it’s nice to get it. They had quite a few but the prices on some of them were prohibitive, at least for me.

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Finally, from the same stall I bought what turned out to be an unofficial pressing of Computer World by Kraftwerk, I had thought it probably was but its green vinyl, I was seduced for I am weak.

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I fail to comprehend how anybody could not love ‘Pocket Calculator’, just listen to it, it’s amazing.

The next thing was a copy of ‘The Pearl’ by Harold Budd and Brian Eno. I’m picking up Eno albums when I see them. I’d like the Ambient series but they are so bloody expensive.

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And sticking with Harold Budd I bought ‘The Moon & The Melodies’ A very nice copy, which is basically a Cocteau Twins album.

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It’s a wonderful album.

Finally, a copy of the soundtrack to ‘The Mission’ which is an amazing film which I highly recommend watching, not least because the soundtrack, which is brilliant, was by Ennio Morricone.

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I could have stayed longer and dug a bit more but it was so bloody hot today and the room had no air con. I was very happy with what I found anyway.

What’s In The Bag? (99)

I re-visited something that I wrote back on November 19th, 2002, I wasn’t looking for it, I just stumbled across it, and, with some additions and amendments, here it is for the 99th Album that has been found in a bag, beginning with a quite appropriate intro based on the previous ‘Uncut Top 200 Albums Ever‘ post:

November 19th, 2002

I am utterly incapable of compiling a list of what I believe to be the best albums of all time. The results would fluctuate wildly depending on so many factors over which I have no control that it would be pointless. Instead of doing that I would rather just point at something and say, “Yes, that is a great album and this is why…..”

So I will. Every now and again, when the urge takes me I’m going to point, nobody has to look in the direction I’m pointing if they don’t want to. So without further ado, I am now going to do my first bit of stiff index fingeredness by saying, this is a GREAT album:

58925The Cocteau Twins – Heaven or Las Vegas

I waited for what seemed like forever for this album to be released. Blue Bell Knoll was being worn out by the needle on my record player and then suddenly there was a single called Iceblink Luck and it received radio play, which was a rare thing for the Cocteau Twins, then it actually entered the singles charts. After years of people saying, “So what music are you into?” I received something other than ‘Never heard of them.” When I said the Cocteau Twins. The only thing I can think of that made this particular song more accessible than their previous single releases was firstly that there were some intelligible words in there but also the success of artists such as Clannad and Enya. They were poles apart as artists but there was a vibe about them all that somehow resulted in them falling into the same rather loose category.

Heaven or Las Vegas seemed to take the Cocteau twins ‘Goth’ background and stand it on its head. Here were songs that you could mumble along to: amazing melodies that couldn’t possibly exists on any other record. Frasier’s voice had reached a new maturity and her outlook had changed with the birth of her first child. Robin Guthrie’s ‘cathedral of sound’ guitar still felt like an ocean swirling around in the inner ear but it was more focused than it had ever been. It was as though everything they had been working on for the previous ten years came together in one defining moment that lasted for 37 minutes and felt like the journey of a lifetime.

The sheer beauty of this record can only be experienced by listening to it and if you have not done so then I urge you to get it, play it and love it. It is an absolute joy.

Two tracks that didn’t make it to the album but are just as good appear on the single iceblink luck and are Watchlar’ and Mizake the Mizan.

A couple of my responses to Comments by my on this 2002 Post:

  1. I have a great deal of difficulty putting forward any particular Cocteau Twins album as being their best. The reason being that the first things of theirs I heard were the E.P’s Spangle Maker, Peppermint Pig and the like, and they were on the John Peel show as well with the songs from Garlands such as Wax and Wane, Blood Bitch and Blind Dumb Deaf. I followed them through Head over Heels, Treasure etc. right up to the end. At the time, each album was significant in its own way and I’d tear myself apart trying to say which is best. For somebody who hadn’t heard them before I would suggest Heaven Or Las Vegas or Milk and Kisses initially as they are certainly two of the most accessible albums.
  2. I was delighted to pick up the 10 cd box set of the Eps a little while back, even though it cost me an arm and a leg. I remember seeing it for sale when it was released but I thought, “What do I need that for, I have them all on vinyl already?” , I also remember deciding not to buy the Frosty The Snowman single as well, I saw it in the record shop and thought, “No, that’s silly”. Now they sell for a fortune on Ebay! Ah well, nevermind.

—————————————–

January 4th, 2016

Well, I still agree with all that, and the album does make number 144 in the Uncut 200 Albums list, and it certainly should be in there. My vinyl copy still plays nicely, although I sold the Iceblink Luck 12″ and a few others, and the 10 CD box set has gone to a new home.

I do wish that Elizabeth Fraser had done more after the demise of the Cocteau Twins. There are odd bits here and there but nothing very solid, a track on a film soundtrack, a single (Moses) which was disappointing, the best of output has undoubtedly been with Massive Attack on Mezzanine.

There’s more about The Cocteau’s HERE where I was looking at Blue Bell Knoll.

9.45/10

What’s in the bag? (85)

Cocteau-Twins-Bluebell-KnollOn the day this album was released I was in Leamington Spa, which in 1988 had three record stores, and I managed to pick up a copy for the going rate of £4.99. We had an Our Price, Woolworths and an independent. I forget what the independent was called, Sound something or other, it was in Gloucester Street, off Bath Street and was a bit ‘High Fidelity”, in that you felt as though you were being judged on every purchase. I didn’t buy ‘Blue Bell Knoll’ from there, I bought it from Woolworths, after looking in the other two and not finding it there. I do miss Woolworths on the high street (it’s all online now) as, not only did they discount records quite often, but they also had a fabulous Pick ‘N Mix for sweets.

‘Blue Bell Knoll’ received mixed reviews upon its release, all of which I ignored, because I didn’t care, for me, The Twins could do no wrong. I pretty much loved everything they had released up to this point and wasn’t even slightly disappointed when I first played the album. I’ve seen some retrospective reviews online as well which don’t place it that highly, claiming that Carolyn’s Fingers is the only real high point, but they miss the point. What we had before this album was ‘Garlands’, ‘Head over Heels’, ‘Treasure’, ‘Victorialand’ & ‘The Moon and the Melodies’ all of which I loved for different reasons. We also had the 12” EP’s ‘Lullabies’, ‘Peppermint Pig’, ‘Sunburst and Snowblind’, ‘Pearly-Dewdrops’ Drops’, ‘The Spangle Maker’, ‘Aikea-Guinea’, ‘Tiny Dynamine’, ‘Echoes in a Shallow Bay’ and finally ‘Love’s Easy Tears’. I had all of them on vinyl. Taken all together this was a fabulous back catalogue all released in a 6 year period. However, at this point in time there was no ‘Heaven or Las Vegas’, which seems to be widely acknowledged as the pinnacle of their output, nor did any of the later releases exist. While ‘Victorialand’ and ‘The Moon and the Melodies’ are lovely pieces of work, they are in my opinion, both eclipsed by the return to the full band format of ‘Blue Bell Knoll’.

I have previously had trouble explaining in words just what it is about the music of The Cocteau Twins that I like. The word ‘Ethereal’ is appropriate, but overused and doesn’t encapsulate everything. Here are some words, beginning with Ethereal, shimmering, sparkly, mysterious, enigmatic, mystical, glistening, mystifying, cryptic, dark, bright, obscure, esoteric, transcendental, unfathomable and shimmering again. These are the sort of words that have been used in reviews over the years, but few, if any, that I remember reading mention joyous. There are moments of pure beauty that occur and cause the heart to soar, and I’m not overstating it, there really are. Well, that’s what I hear, I’m sure others think it an unbearable noise.

No. Title Length
1. “Blue Bell Knoll” 3:24
2. “Athol-Brose” 2:59
3. “Carolyn’s Fingers” 3:08
4. “For Phoebe Still a Baby” 3:16
5. “The Itchy Glowbo Blow” 3:21
6. “Cico Buff” 3:49
7. “Suckling the Mender” 3:35
8. “Spooning Good Singing Gum” 3:52
9. “A Kissed Out Red Floatboat” 4:10
10. “Ella Megalast Burls Forever” 3:39
Total length:
35:17

Far from being an ‘also ran’ that some reviewers suggest, Blue Bell Knoll is triumph, which has been an inspiration for the likes of Sigur Ros, My Bloody Valentine, Stina Nordenstam, Tori Amos and more. Robert Smith of the Cure is a fan, and that’s a pretty good recommendation in itself. Here he is saying so himself (admittedly not mentioning this particular album):

Just in case you don’t know much about The Cocteau Twins, here’s some history culled from Wikipedia:

Guthrie and Heggie, both from Grangemouth, Scotland, formed the band in 1979. At a local disco called Nash they met Fraser, also from Grangemouth, who would eventually provide vocals.[3] The band’s influences at the time included The Birthday Party, Sex Pistols, Kate Bush, and Siouxsie and the Banshees.[citation needed] The band was named after the song “The Cocteau Twins” by fellow Scotsmen ‘Johnny and the Self-Abusers’ (who later renamed themselves Simple Minds; the song “The Cocteau Twins” was also re-penned as “No Cure”). Their debut recording, Garlands (released by 4AD Records in 1982), was an instant success, as was the subsequent Lullabies EP.[citation needed]Around that time, NME‍ ’​s Don Watson compared the style of the band to goth bands like Gene Loves Jezebel and Xmal Deutschland.,[4] while SPIN magazine’s Sue Cummings compared it retrospectively to Siouxsie and the Banshees and Bauhaus.[5]
Heggie left the group after the tour that followed the 1983 release of the band’s second EP, Peppermint Pig.[3] He subsequently joined Lowlife. The band’s sound on its first three recordings relied on the combination of Heggie’s rhythmic basslines, Guthrie’s minimalist guitar melodies, and Fraser’s voice; the Cocteau Twins’ next full-length LP, Head over Heels, relied solely on the latter two.[3] This led to the growth of the band’s characteristic sound: Fraser’s voice, by turns ethereal and operatic, combined with Guthrie’s effects-heavy guitars.[3] Guthrie has often said that he is far more interested in the way the guitar is recorded, than in the actual notes being played, though he later admitted the effects and layering were due to his own technical limitations.[6]
“The Cocteau Twins are still the best by far at the 4AD ethereal dreamscape, thanks largely to the extraordinary voice of Liz Fraser. Somehow she’s found a voice that falls completely outside ‘Rock’ or ‘Pop’.”
– Simon Reynolds, New Statesman, 1987[7]
In 1983, the band participated in 4AD’s This Mortal Coil project (this spawned a cover version of Tim Buckley’s “Song to the Siren” performed by Guthrie and Fraser), and during their work for that, they got to know multi-instrumentalist Simon Raymonde (formerly a member of Drowning Craze), who joined the group later that year.[3] In 2012, Dawn French selected “Song to the Siren” on Desert Island Discs as, in her words, “The song that made me fall in love again”.

There is a much more comprehensive history of the band here if you are at all interested:-

http://www.cocteautwins.com/html/history/

Back when the Cocteau Twins were still a band there really weren’t that many TV performances to watch. I had some videoed and I bought a few bootleg VHS tapes, the quality of which was truly terrible, but until ‘Heaven or Las Vegas’ you just didn’t see much of them. This is why I bought a ticket to see them live in Birmingham, unfortunately, for a number of reasons that weren’t my fault, circumstances colluded against me resulting in me missing the concert, which still annoys me now, and it was over 20 years ago. I never did get to see them.

Let’s talk lyrics for a moment, just to confirm that they don’t really matter here. Elizabeth Fraser uses her voice more as an instrument, a provider of melody, than as a vehicle to convey words. I have listened to the opening track of this album hundreds of times and I have never bothered even attempting to understand a single word of what is sung, it is of no real consequence, however, as I was writing this I thought I would see if anybody else had, and they have. Now it is best read as you listen to it, wherein you will possibly agree with me, that they aren’t quite right, but close. Try it:

Blue Bell Knoll
Each is not my love, moan I for what
I make up hundreds so I know how to make love
There, you can have my youth, I know I have loved
Started to see him, till when I married him
To yearn admits you’re outside to me
Grow up
I have seen these all my life, perhaps a lot more
And I have been so naive
All move and try he knew not
And your spangle, how it hurts and I have feelings
To yearn admits you’re outside to me
Grow up
To yearn admits you’re outside to me
Grow up
SONGWRITERS
FRASER, ELIZABETH/GUTHRIE, ROBIN/RAYMONDE, SIMON

Not far off I think, but the ‘Outside to me’ bit is highly questionable. Now I will never think of it again unless somebody mentions it. Although, I did stumble across an interview with Elizabeth Fraser who explains that some of the lyrics are, in fact, complete gibberish.

Here are a couple of promo videos from Blue Bell Knoll and a live concert which isn’t great footage but it’s a really nice quality soundboard recording.

9.2/10