The Box Set - 1991

The Box Set Lullabies EP
Peppermint Pig EP
Sunburst and Snowblind EP
The Spangle Maker EP
Aikea-Guinea EP
Tiny Dynamine EP
Echoes In A Shallow Bay EP
Love's Easy Tears EP
Iceblink Luck
Bonus CD, containing
     The High Monkey-Monk
     Oomingmak (instrumental version)

The Box Set is a release of all the Cocteau's EP's up to 1991. The entire set contains ten CD's, each of which contains just three or four tracks. Nine of these ten had earlier been released as EP's, but all of these are out of print and therefore very hard to get. As a bonus a tenth CD was included containing rare or previously unreleased tracks. These days the Box Set itself is apparently out of print as well. The entire Box Set was effectively replaced by the 2005 box Lullabies To Violaine, although that release annoyingly did not include the four rare tracks from the bonus CD.

Some of the tracks from these EP's are included on other releases as well. The tracks from the Sunburst And Snowblind EP are also included on some releases of the Head Over Heels album, and Tiny Dynamine and Echoes In A Shallow Bay have also been jointly released on a single CD. All tracks from The Spangle Maker and the title track from Aikea-Guinea are included on the Pink Opaque album. Crushed appeared on 4AD's Lonely Is An Eyesore collection album. Iceblink Luck was released as a CD-single and the title track was taken from their Heaven Or Las Vegas album. Finally no less than eight songs from these EP's also feature on 4AD's collection album Stars And Topsoil.


Gentle sounds all around - Dials is a sweet little song, with beautiful sounds and marvellous keyboard effects. But in a way it's perhaps the song that was never written.

The first minute of Dials creates an air of expectation - it appears to pave the way for something special, something really profound. Rising pitches, long drawn-out notes and faint noises are nicely combined to great effect. There's the odd single drum beat to add to the tension. But just when the song seems really ready to take off it simply starts over again. And the second time around is also the last one. After less than three minutes the song that promised so much is over all too quickly.

Other than on this bonus CD Dials was never released, and one can appreciate why. It seems the band created a perfect introduction, but somehow never got around to writing the song that was meant to follow it.


Even when one didn't know when Crushed was recorded it is pretty obvious the track originates from the same era as the Love's Easy Tears EP. The song is clearly dominated by the heavy sounds and steady beats so typical for those days.

The main feature of the song is the rather special guitar. Used almost like some kind of percussion it amazingly sounds somewhat like an alarm bell. Steady as such a device and true to the song's concept the guitar never misses a beat, thus providing the framework for the song. Continuous and heavy percussion and dark bass lines are the other bricks that build the wall as solidly as the band apparently wanted it to be.

Against such a background the vocals can not be expected to show too many subtleties. Liz sings very emotionally and emphatically, and only in the chorus does she allow herself to a few more lighthearted lines rather than the lengthy notes that she delivers throughout. Vocal overdubs further increase the intensity and overwhelm the listener with the dramatic atmosphere of this heavy song. Crushed indeed! The band rarely selected a better song title.

Crushed was originally released on the Lonely Is An Eyesore album, a joint project by 4AD and 23 Envelope.

The High Monkey-Monk

The High Monkey-Monk was released as a 'bonus track' in the Box Set, a phrasing often used for a track deemed not good enough for proper release at the time it was recorded. But in this case the song is a bonus indeed, a delightful tune, lighthearted, with in particular beautiful vocals.

Light percussion provides a steady rhythm throughout, ably assisted by a ringing guitar which is played so rhythmically that at some points it sounds like a percussive instrument as well. But the main star of the song is Liz. Her vocals are playful, quick, high-pitched and very enjoyable. As so often several overdubs are applied to weave a few lines together. The result is a wonderfully warm and optimistic song, breathing happiness and fun.

It's difficult to tell exactly when The High Monkey-Monk was recorded. The guitar style is somewhat similar to the one in Crushed, but the song totally lacks the heavy walls of sound from that period. Perhaps it was written when the Twins were working towards Blue Bell Knoll.

Although it was released earlier in a Melody Maker Compilation, these days The High Monkey-Monk is available through the Box Set only.

Oomingmak (instrumental version)

This is the great instrumental part from this acoustic track that originally appeared on Victorialand. Apparently nothing was recorded especially for this version, so it's probably just the original version without the vocals.