Cocteau Twins: Elizabeth Fraser (vocals); Robin Guthrie (guitar); Will Heggie (bass).
Additional personnel: Gordon Sharp (vocals).
Though it's least like their later material and far more clearly grounded in rock music tropes, the debut Cocteau Twins album, GARLANDS (1982), contains most of the essentials that would eventually make them the darlings of the ethereal and Goth crowd. The album features four main elements--Will Heggie's understated and sinister bass lines, a pulsing drum machine which often provides the only real structure for the songs, Robin Guthrie's massively treated guitars which often sound like some sort of Doppler effect, slow-motion siren, and Elizabeth Fraser's eerie vocals and lyrics. Fraser assembles what appear to be nonsense syllables (though occasionally the odd word or two in English or Gaelic is decipherable) selected for their sound rather than their meaning, and sings them in a combination otherworldly warble and yodel. All of this is infinitely prettier to listen to than this description would suggest.
Highlights include the menacing, claustrophobic "But I'm Not," and the cavernous vocal and sustained guitar distortion of "Grail Overfloweth." Collectors should note that early versions of the CD contained six bonus tracks recorded for British radio.
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