The story of the Cocteau Twins in a nutshell.
The Cocteau Twins started off in Grangemouth, Scotland, in 1982 as a threesome : Robin Guthrie - guitars, Will Heggie - bass, Elizabeth Fraser - vocals. Their career took off after Robin sent in some tapes to the independent 4AD label.

Their debut album Garlands (1982) featured very distorted guitars, a drum machine, Liz' unique and usually incomprehensible vocals and music often without obvious melodies. The album, released on the 4AD label, did very well in the UK independent charts, partly because of the support of famous BBC DJ John Peel. They next chose to release an EP, Lullabies, which featured three tracks showing a more mature sound. However on their next EP Peppermint Pig the emphasis unexpectedly was on heavy sounds and booming rhythms.

After this EP Will Heggie left and the next album was recorded as a duo. Head Over Heels (1983) and its accompanying EP Sunburst and Snowblind contain a marvellously diverse collection of styles, while their sound still remained unique and recognizable at all time.

Bass player Simon Raymonde joined the band at this point to form their definitive line-up. Early in 1984 the band released the EP The Spangle Maker and the track Pearly-Dewdrops' Drops unexpectedly scored their only (minor) chart success. Few were prepared for their third album, the shockingly brilliant and widely praised Treasure (1984), which treated the listener to an intriguingly consistent atmosphere containing many enthralling melodies, sounds and rhythms.

It took a while before the band would release another complete album. In 1985 they released the more down to earth EP Aikea-Guinea, followed by the "twin" EP's Tiny Dynamine and Echoes In A Shallow Bay, both of which demonstrated new approaches again. Mostly to introduce the band to a US public a kind of "best of" collection was released as well under the title The Pink Opaque.

At this stage the band members got involved in different projects. Robin and Liz together released the purely acoustic Victorialand in 1986, and later that year the three band members teamed up with Harold Budd to record The Moon And The Melodies. Then yet another EP, Love's Easy Tears, showing heavy walls of sound, was released.

After this burst of production it remained quiet for some time before the next real album, Blue Bell Knoll was released in 1988. This saw the band trying to evolve a really different style with many instruments being produced together into a crucible of sounds and melodies. The concept came really good in 1990 when their career reached another highlight with their release of Heaven Or Las Vegas, an absolutely fantastic album with a collection of breathtakingly beautiful songs. Many of the lyrics, incomprehensible up to this point, were starting to make some vague sort of sense. The song Iceblink Luck was released on CD-single.

The next year saw Liz having a baby, which naturally had its influence on the band. Things stayed quiet until 1993, when Four-Calendar Café turned out to be a drastic change in style. Fully understandable lyrics (often referring to motherhood) and much quieter and lighter songs almost made them into a different band. Two CD-singles, Evangeline and Bluebeard, were taken from the album. Inbetween, in December 1993 the Christmas CD-single Snow was released in a limited edition, now easily the rarest and therefore most wanted piece of their repertoire.

The year 1995 saw two further EP's, Twinlights and Otherness, both containing earlier songs as well as songs that were to appear on their forthcoming album, but in very different versions. Twinlights contains acoustic material only, whereas the electronic interpretations on Otherness are possibly best described as a mixture of techno and ambient.

Milk & Kisses, duly released in 1996, showed a mixture of earlier styles, and gave no clear indication of future directions. Two CD-singles, Tishbite and Violaine, were drawn from the album, both in two different editions, with different extra tracks and conspicuously different colours.

Early 1998, when about to record their next album, the band sadly decided to split, leaving behind a vast number of wonderful songs.

In 1999 the songs recorded during eight live sessions for the BBC were released on a double CD called BBC Sessions. Most of the material is from the 1982-84 era, two sessions are from 1996.

A further release saw the light of day in 2000. Stars And Topsoil contains a selection of 18 songs from their 4AD years (1982-1990), which runs from the beginning up to the successful Heaven Or Las Vegas album. This compilation thus effectively covers the first three quarters of the band's career.

Finally a 4-CD set, aptly called Lullabies to Violaine was compiled in 2005. This 59-track collection completely covers all the EP's and CD-singles the band ever released.

The style of the band is extremely hard to define. Elizabeth's voice, pure and powerful, but often dreamy and soft as well, is instantly recognizable. The mostly unique style of Robin with guitars will never be confused with anyone else either. Their rhythms and melodies are often very hard to grasp and most of Liz' lyrics are incomprehensible and probably meant to be that way as well. Many of their songs, in particular in their earlier years, are in three time, an unusual feature in rock history. Their music contains beauties out of this world, and everybody is advised to listen to their compositions since words can at best give shallow descriptions of their work.

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