Iceblink Luck - 1990
Mizake The Mizan
This was the first time the Cocteau Twins actually released a true CD-single - i.e. featuring a song taken from an album rather than a brand new one. The leading track was taken from Heaven Or Las Vegas. The sleeve's artwork is also very similar to that on the main album. The two other two tracks, both quite worthwhile, were probably recorded during the same period.
For once in their career the Twins came up with a melody that's easy to remember, a relatively simple song structure and a chorus you might even want to sing along to. So it is no surprise this track was also released as a CD-single - the first of their career after many, many EP's - to promote their Heaven Or Las Vegas album.
The track may be as straightforward as most of their repertoire is not, but that does not mean they did any concessions to the quality of it. There is an excellent introduction, the lead guitar is playing a beautiful duet with the bass, and towards the end there is a short but great instrumental part to introduce the final lines. And even though the chorus is very recognizable the band refrained from adding a fade-out, did not even play the chorus once again and provided an unexpected twist at the end instead.
Liz is sounding very steady and is not trying many vocal tricks. Even so the chorus features the usual overdub to suggest multivoiced background vocals. And in some other parts there are quite faint and easily missable traces of vocals as well - Liz singing background a few pitches higher.
Pearly Dewdrops' Drops and Iceblink Luck are probably the only times the Cocteau Twins composed something more or less playable to the general public. That in itself says a lot about how well they managed to steer clear of any commercial considerations.
Mizake the Mizan
This relatively slow song sounds quite similar to most of the songs on Heaven Or Las Vegas, so one may assume it was recorded during the same sessions as the album.
Simon's bass is unusually prominent in this track. Its stability counterbalances the volatility of Liz' contributions and the usual layers of vocal overdubs. The guitar parts feature quite a bit of distortion, occasionally even reminding the listener to early work such as Garlands. As the track moves on the guitar distortions are increasing, eventually culminating in a wonderful instrumental part where the bass and guitar complement each other in a marvellous exchange.
But for the excellent quality of every single track on Heaven Or Las Vegas one feels Mizake The Mizan might well have been included on the album rather than being relegated to a single-CD.
From the inclusion of Watchlar on the Iceblink Luck CD-single it appears it was recorded around that time, but the track itself definitely suggests otherwise. Far from the dynamic rhythms or multi-instrumental harmonies that are so typical for Heaven Or Las Vegas we are presented with a soft song, featuring simple themes, quiet vocals and just a few instruments that are almost too shy to show their presence. It is as though the song already gives us a glimpse of what was to be on Four-Calendar Café.
Quick but very light percussion and similar keyboards form most of the song's tapestry as Liz sings a pretty duet with her usual alter ego. Her vocals are well worth listening to even if the song just merrily skips along without anything really spectacular happening.
Towards the end a distorted guitar briefly joins the line-up to play some nice if gentle riffs. Even then the song remains unperturbed and eventually Robin's guitar waves us farewell as the track quietly rides off into the sunset.