What is Cocteau Twins most successful song

Cocteau Twins

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Cocteau Twins

With the spherical guitar sounds of Robin Guthrie and the angelic voice of Elizabeth Fraser, the Cocteau Twins defined a whole genre in the eighties: Dream Pop. Bands like My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and Beach House have a lasting influence with their music.

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The roots are in punk. In 1979 Liz Fraser met her future fellow musicians Robin Guthrie and bassist Will Heggie in their sleepy hometown of Grangemouth on the east coast of Scotland. There is a small club there that she visits often and where Guthrie regularly plays records from the Sex Pistols, Ramones and the Stooges. Without these records she would never have been enthusiastic about music and would have taken a perfectly normal job in a fast food shop. Furthermore, she takes inspiration for her visual appearance from Wilma Feuerstein, as she herself says. The band was founded in 1980, but not only that: She also has a private relationship with Guthrie.

The three musicians borrow the band name from a demo song by Glasgow's Simple Minds. At that time they still indulged in punk and in the track again refer to the French writer, director and painter Jean Cocteau. First, the formation tries with their "smiled at how reverently heard singing", as Rolling Stone writes, to gain a foothold in their Scottish homeland.

But when the music did not find the desired response, she ended up in London to land a record deal with the help of the famous BBC disc jockey John Peel. He's taking a few pictures with her. However, it was the record seller Simon Raymonde who introduced the Cocteau Twins to the co-founder of the then newly founded label 4AD, Ivo Watts-Russell. This is also where the troops sign. The debut "Garlands" was finally released in September 1982. This is mainly characterized by the dark post-punk influences of the Joy Division and Siouxsie & The Banshees brand instead of the raw energy of punk.

With the two subsequent EPs "Lullabies" (1982) and "Peppermint Pig" (1983), the Scots gradually break away from this sound and gradually develop a completely unique world of sound, which is later called Dream Pop. With the second work "Head Over Heals" released in October 1983, with which they entered the UK charts for the first time, this style then shimmers in all its glory.

It's basically just sound, because Guthrie can't actually play guitar, but knows all the better how to use effects and reverb. In any case, he manipulates his string tones in such a way that they wander weightless and bodiless through the room.

Fraser searches for her texts mainly in foreign-language books and dictionaries, so that she finds her own fantasy language that she does not even understand properly herself. "These words don't mean anything until I sing them", it says in one of her rare interviews with the BBC. And the way she sings: so heavenly that it sounds out of this world. In addition, rhythmically concise bass and drum computer sounds are added. Every listener can hear it for himself fill the music of the Cocteau Twins with your own thoughts and emotions.

That leads to success: within a very short time the band forms an essential part of the London music scene and participates in the music of other projects such as the 4AD house band This Mortal Coil, where Simon Raymonde is also involved. He joins the Cocteau Twins as bassist after the recording of This Mortal Coil's debut "I'll End In Tears", after Will Heggie joins the alternative formation Lowlife. The record contains a cover version of the Tim Buckley song "Song To The Siren" sung by Liz Fraser, which moves to tears and which David Lynch used much later, namely in 1997, in his film "Lost Highway". It was released as a single in September 1983.

In addition, the band made the leap into the mainstream with their appearance on Top of the Pops. With the EP "Sunburst And Snowblind" (1983), the 7 "" Pearly-Dewdrops' Drops "and 12" "The Spangle Maker" (both from April 1984), she can also build on "Head Over Heals" in terms of quality and once again posted placements in the UK charts.

But it was only with the third work "Treasure", the first Cocteau Twins recording with Raymonde, released in November 1984, that she reaped the widespread recognition she deserved. In the documentary "Beautiful Noise" Robert Smith from The Cure even later confesses that he is such a romantic "Sound"never before"belongs"Have. To this day, the record is one of the best albums of the eighties in various music magazines.

In addition, some fans adore the Scots almost cultically: This is how they see their concerts, when Fraser is almost motionless in the center and a fog machine wraps the band in dry ice, as spiritual awakening experiences. With the EPs "Aikea-Guinea", "Tiny Dynamite" and "Echoes In A Shallow Bay" released in 1985, the Cocteau Twins make their music even more extensive than on their predecessors. With "Victorialand", which they brought out in April 1986, they opened up to the ambient. They then even worked with a pioneer of this genre, Harold Budd, for "The Moon And The Melodies", which was released around six months later. In between there is the EP "Love's Easy Tears".

In addition to their typical dream pop sound, the Scots finally go back to the "Blue Bell Knoll" released in September 1988. This marks a turning point in their musical development, as they take the massive use of studio technology and the alienation of the guitar sound on this record to extremes. As a result, they enter the top 200 of the US album charts for the first time.

Elizabeth Fraser then found increasingly clear language on the follow-up "Heaven Or Las Vegas", which appeared in September 1990, and turned to English. The lyrics of the album often revolve around her daughter Lucy-Belle. In addition, the band is concentrating more on their songwriting again. In the end, this is her most accessible and pop, as well as her most commercially successful work.

After that, almost the entire back catalog of the Cocteau Twins in the USA will gradually come out. The occasion is the band's first tour in the land of opportunity in the same year. At the same time, the Dreampoppers break up after a dispute between 4AD and sign with Fontana. In private life, too, things are slowly getting worse: Guthrie takes refuge in alcohol and drugs, Fraser catches up with her childhood traumas.

She processes this on "Four Calendar Café". In "Bluebeard" she asks, for example, whether a man is good or rather toxic. The album was released in October 1993 after My Bloody Valentine on "Loveless" and Slowdive on "Souvlaki" put the music of the Cocteau Twins in an independent shoegaze context. Musically, however, the Scots at least successfully follow the alternative rock sound of the 90s with the work, also because Guthrie has developed into an experienced guitarist. He then launched the Bella Union label with Raymonde in order to be able to release the band's music independently of another record company. He separates from Fraser privately.

She then hovers in seventh heaven with singer Jeff Buckley, the son of Tim Buckley. He fell in love with her voice sometime in the 80s when he first heard her rendition of "Song To The Siren". Fraser desperately wanted a duet with him. Both enter into a short, but all the more passionate relationship and together record the song "All Flowers In Time Bend Towards The Sun", which is never released commercially. The track "Rilkean Eyes" on the next Cocteau Twins studio album "Milk & Kisses" also pays homage to Jeff Buckley, who had a great fondness for writer Rainer Maria Rilke.

The record, which comes on the market in March 1996 and on which you can hear more ethereal influences than on its predecessors, is also said to be the last of the Dreampoppers after they had hit Trip Hop a year earlier with the EP "Otherness" venture out without even approaching the Portisheads class. In 1998 the quarreled band disbanded.

Liz Fraser then rose to become an icon of trip hop herself when she lent her voice to Massive Attack's "Teardrop" in the same year, which was originally supposed to sing Madonna. When writing the text, she had Jeff Buckley in mind, who drowned in a tragic accident a year earlier. In addition, she plans a solo LP for 2007, which she never released.

Simon Raymonde, on the other hand, devoted himself to his solo work "Blame Someone Else", which he released in 1997, even before the band split up. Robin Guthrie transferred his spherical guitar sounds into an ambient context from the noughties and worked with Harold Budd again for several albums, but also recorded his own studio records and soundtracks.

You only hear a little bit about the Cocteau Twins, however, when in 2005 it suddenly appeared in the room that Fraser, Guthries and Raymondes would perform again at the Coachella Festival in California, followed by a whole tour. Liz denies that in the same week because she doesn't want to meet her ex under any circumstances.

In return, the singer finds happiness privately with ex-Echo And The Bunnymen drummer Damon Reece, with whom she also has a daughter named Lily. And the fans can be happy too: With "Lullabies To Violaine", 4AD released a box set in 2005 that gathers all of the band's singles and EPs. A year later, two separate double CD versions of this set will also be released.

All in all, the magical tones of the Cocteau Twins have lost none of their topicality to this day, because they have been experiencing a revival with bands such as Beach House or DIIV since the mid-noughties and are still reaching a younger, hippier target group.