The Moon And The Melodies - 1986

The Moon And The Melodies Sea, Swallow Me
Memory Gongs
Why Do You Love Me?
Eyes Are Mosaics
She Will Destroy You
The Ghost Has No Home
Bloody And Blunt
Ooze Out And Away, Onehow

Actually The Moon And The Melodies is not a Cocteau Twins production proper. As the front sleeve indicates clearly, it is rather the result of a cooperation between all three members of the Cocteau Twins as individuals together with Harold Budd.

Closer inspection of the material though shows that although the four musicians involved may well have profited from the exchange of ideas, the resulting eight tracks can easily be split in two groups. Tracks one, four, five and eight all show a clear Cocteau Twins signature. On the other hand tracks two, three, six and seven show no obvious relation to the other four, and therefore one must assume they are mainly the product of Harold Budd.

The differences between the two styles are obvious. For a start Liz only sings on the four Cocteau-like tracks, whereas the other four are instrumental efforts. The sound of these four Harold Budd tracks is very different from the other four: it may be described by such terms as ectoplasmic or viscose, but none of these quite succeed in catching the true character. Suffice it to say that their sound would never be mistaken for that of a real Cocteau Twins song. Less obvious yet very distinctive is the fact that all four Cocteau-like tracks are in three time, and all the others in regular four time.

Thus it seems that although this album was created by four people they never quite succeeded in uniting their talents into a single creative style. Instead we are presented with four Cocteau tracks influenced by Harold Budd and vice versa. This gives the album a bit of a hybrid character. Not a bad effort, but one feels the release can not be marked a total success, if only because many listeners will find only half the compositions of real interest.

Sea, Swallow Me

Although strictly spoken not a Cocteau Twins track, Sea, Swallow Me would be picked by any fan as a Cocteau song immediately. The rhythm, the guitar, the style and of course Liz' unmistakeable voice are all too obvious to miss, and it is in fact hard to detect any outside influence at all.

As the track starts out a subtle (Harold Budd?) piano intro melts into a pleasant rhythm, but Liz soon takes over as the star of this excellent song. Following a steady and dominating rhythm Liz delivers several melodies with obvious joy. There are lots of vocal overdubs going on, allowing her to sing at various pitches and with different intensities, yielding a rich vocal landscape throughout. The song gets ever busier towards the end, until Liz has the last word with a beautiful last meditation.

From the entire album Sea, Swallow Me is probably the track true Cocteau fans will appreciate most. One feels it could easily have featured on one of their 'official' studio albums.

Eyes Are Mosaics

Most of this album's tracks are rather subdued, but Eyes Are Mosaics is a pleasant, easy tune. The overall sound is really all Cocteau Twins here. Harold Budd's contributions are probably in the keyboard part, but elsewhere there is little to suggest that this track might not equally well have featured on one of the Cocteau's earlier EP's.

Also unlike most other tracks on The Moon And The Melodies Liz is singing merrily and with great variety here. She has quite a few different melodies to take care of and these are all cleverly braided together. Her high notes nicely counterbalance Simon's very prominent bass, whose heavy accents reminds one of those that were used to great effect in The Spangle Maker.

Eyes Are Mosaics is a nice song, but it is mostly noteworthy for Liz' vocal performances. Apart from that one can't help feeling this is the kind of effort the Cocteaus could have written by the dozen any time they wanted to.

She Will Destroy You

There are not a lot of fireworks in this song, which nevertheless succeeds in presenting the kind of pleasantly quiet atmosphere so typical for this album.

The track definitely shows some Harold Budd influences. The keyboards are definitely unlike normal Cocteau Twins style, and it is not quite clear whether there are any guitars at all, or whether it's just keyboards we hear. Despite the unusual instrumentation Liz' vocals dominate the proceedings to such an extent that the general impression is still very much that of the Cocteau Twins. Her voice is by no means stretched to the limit by the kind of relaxed vocals asked for in this case, but she sounds quietly confident providing some variation to an otherwise rather straightforward song.

Towards the end a saxophone - played by Richard Thomas from Dif Juz - suddenly introduces a new element. Its brief contribution confirms the overall impression of She Will Destroy You which is probably best described as a bit melancholic.

Ooze Out And Away, Onehow

The title of this song would have sounded familiar to Cocteau fans. Three years earlier it featured in the lyrics of My Love Paramour. Mixing several of the band's common practices with some rather unusual ones Ooze Out And Away, Onehow turns out to be quite a noteworthy effort.

The most unusual element is the structure of the song: two and a half minutes of very soft, almost hesitant guitar chords, romantic whispering vocals, some dreamy keyboards. Just when you feel everything is about to 'ooze out' the song suddenly leaps to life. The final part is totally different and genuine Cocteau Twins. Liz singing with true conviction, many vocal overdubs, solid percussion, it's all there. It's as though the band are trying to put into the last minute all they left out in the first bits.

One particular habit the Cocteaus maintained throughout their career was to close off an album with something special. In this case they did not just that, but even managed to make the song itself go out with a bang.