Search - Cocteau Twins :: Garlands

Cocteau Twins
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (8) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Cocteau Twins
Title: Garlands
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Capitol
Release Date: 9/10/1991
Album Type: Original recording reissued
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
Styles: Hardcore & Punk, Indie & Lo-Fi, British Alternative, New Wave & Post-Punk
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 077779641529

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CD Reviews

My favorite cocteau twins album
Om... | atop the lotus | 06/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"while their other work is very good, i will never be without a copy of this album! its definitely darker and moodier than their other stuff - and fun to dance around the house to.
love it!"
The only real Goth album
Ant | Tokyo Japan | 10/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"If you know the Cocteau twins, it is good to know this album. What makes them special is the existential undertow of their work which may be overlooked, due to the ethereal value of their sound post Garlands. But what makes all of their later 'shimmering' music special is represented here (sans shimmer).

Garlands is a dark album. One could regard it as the epitome of true Goth. I prefer to think of it as sonic paganism. The music is flat, in other words, it has very little variation in timbre & tone, very much unlike their later, more colourful, airy work. In many ways Frazer's voice is used more technically than on other albums. Her haunting pigeon like vibrato, which can only be heard in the background of her later work can be heard up front here, as well as the `far away' sound of Guthrie's guitar work, which paints monstrous nocturnal imagery that bands like Souxi & the banshees could have only dreamed of, and the amazingly dark & subtle bass lines of Will Heggie whom I personally think bought the most to the atmosphere of this album, adds its own tension.

Don't get put off by the tinny drum machine as I first did. In many ways, this could in fact be their best work. It is not for the light listener, does not fit easily into a social life, it has however a distinct place in ones personal self exploration, which after all is what music, is.

If you ever wanted to get back to the child that lay in bed wondering where it all goes after you die, this is your album. If not, stay clear. You don't need to know what Liz Frazer is singing to understand what she is saying. The music says it clear enough.
Before Cocteau Twins found their sound, there was this medio
Cody C. Gaisser | Nashville, Tennessee, USA | 02/08/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Cocteau Twins' Garlands from 1982 is a relatively inauspicious debut for a band that was to have such a profound and lasting impact on the sound of pop and underground music in the late 20th century. While there's a good deal of craziness going on in the guitar-atmospherics department and Robin Guthrie's signature drum machine is already in effect, here it's all noticeably derivative of the textures the Cure had begun to create on Seventeen Seconds two years earlier (albeit more distorted and overtly creepy); and compared to the maelstrom of that band's contemporaneous release Pornography, it's positively tame. A heavy Siouxsie & the Banshees influence is evident in the vocals of Elizabeth Fraser, who has not yet developed the confidence, control, and nuance that elevates later Cocteau Twins releases to stratospheric heights. Her words are sometimes intelligible, which is of interest considering that at the band's creative peak a couple of years later she often neglects to use real language at all. When the lyrics can be deciphered, they often seem to focus on some vague relegious imagery (the words "halo," "rosary," and "grail" are all present and accounted for). The most dominant instrument in the mix is actually the throbbing bass guitar of Will Heggie. His technique is conspicuously similar to the approaches of Simon Gallup of the Cure and Peter Hook of Joy Division and New Order; that is to say that he pounds out simple minor key progressions in a steady eighth note rhythm. He also does it with a bit less flair than the aforementioned goth rock pioneers, and later. However at times his pulse seems to be all that's holding the songs together, as guitarist Robin Guthrie is preoccupied experimenting with effects processing and has yet to find his voice as a writer and musician.

Of Cocteau Twins' discography only Garlands truly fits the goth stereotype, and even still it's one of the more listenable examples of that genre - the album sounds pleasant enough playing to appeal to listeners beyond the gloom niche, even if very few songs ultimately prove memorable. Among these highlights are the hypnotic "Wax and Wane," "Blind Dumb Deaf," and "Garlands." The more elliptical compositions "But I'm Not" and "Grail Overfloweth" prefigure the beautiful ghostly music the band would later create, but are underdeveloped as compositions. Recommended only for hardcore Cocteau Twins fans and "goths."

Some CDs of Garlands include bonus tracks. Four of these are John Peel Sessions from 1983. These songs are more focused and energetic than anything on the album itself and two tracks feature Gordon Sharp of Cindytalk contributing eerie, dissociative background vocals. "Dear Heart" is the easy standout of the disc, showcasing Elizabeth Fraser's vocals trills and foreshadowing the jazzy extended chord voicings that would characterize later efforts like 1984's Treasure. It even has a catchy chorus hook (sort of).

Built around a jittery drum machine and an impressive gurgling bassline from Will Heggie, "Hazel" is more manic than any of their other music from this period. Fraser's vocals ascend in a weird modal melody as Gordon Sharp shouts in the background. Guthrie's distorted double-stops fill in the empty gaps.

"Hearsay Please" is one of the weaker bonus tracks, but is as good as the average song on Garlands. The re-recording of "Blind Dumb Deaf" is very similar to the original, but more lo-fi and perhaps more haunting because of it.

The remaining two bonus tracks are songs recorded to be the band's debut single but never actually released at the time. "Speak No Evil" is slow and sullen, featuring chaotic guitar spasms and mysterious drones. "Perhaps Some Other Aeon" is mid-tempo and futuristic.

These songs add a lot of value to the Garlands CD, but listening to all of this droney minor-key gloom in a row can be daunting. There are plenty of interesting ideas in these songs, but they lack the "angelic harps" guitar tones, enthusiastic singing, and sunnier disposition that make their latter works so inspiring."