Saturday, February 09, 2008

Garlands is my favorite Cocteau Twins album

Cocteau Twins are my favorite band ever. I own all their albums. I am afraid to say I am one of those elitist hardcore fans who like the first album best.

I do think that some of the later Cocteau Twins albums are better than Garlands, however, I really enjoy Garlands because it sounds so different to the later stuff.

The Cocteau Twins have always been associated with the Goth movement, but this album is far darker and bleaker than anything else they have written. It could almost be the work of a female-fronted Joy Division. You could compare Garlands to Siouxie and the Banshees, but the sound on this album is much richer and lusher.

What distinguishes this album from the others is that it features a different bass player, Wil Heggie, who left the band after the album was made. His thumping bass lines dominate the sound of the album, giving it a really mean edge. It sounds somewhat punkish.

However, Robin Guthrie's guitar playing was also promising on this early release. Guthrie drenches the record in harsh distortion.

However, as ever, the singer, Liz Frazer is the real star. Her vocal performance on this album is quite haunting. Her fragile and emotional voice contrasting with the aggressive bass line. This album introduced the vocal sound that so characterised the Cocteau Twins, that is multi-layered vocal parts; with Liz Frazer singing different vocal sections, sometimes at the same time.

The Cocteau Twins have often been described as ethereal, but the lyrics on Garlands are very grounded and earthy, abounding with references to the body and vegetation.

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