Tuesday, March 05, 2013
50 GREAT ALBUMS IN MY 50th YEAR (Part 17)
The list is now just over one-third through. And right now, there's still more than 60 records on it, so there's few which are borderline and won't make the cut. Then there's those records that I hadn't put on the original shortlist but later sneaked their way on as they underwent a re-evaluation.
That's exactly what happened with Head Over Heels, the 1983 offering from Cocteau Twins.
I've never really got into Cocteau Twins to any great depth and consider myself to be of an admirer than a fan - and even then, if I listen to anything more than about an hour's worth of their music I get a bit bored. But I'd kind of forgotten all about the album that led to me paying any attention to them.
This is part of the soundtrack to my carefree student days, particularly my first year living away from home. There were three of us who shared a flat and all of us, if truth be told, were music snobs. One of my flatmates was a huge fan of Cocteau Twins from the outset and tried hard to convince everyone of their merits. It wasn't that I didn't like them, but I didn't quite get it. By late 1983 there had been one album and 2 EPs, all of the occasional track worth listening to but only in small doses. It certainly wasn't music for going out to or for putting on if you wanted to continue the party. It was all a bit gloomy whcih was reinforced by my seeing them at a gig early on their career as support to The Fall.
At first listen, Head Over Heels didn't seem too radical a departure. But on second and third listens, I began to hear things a wee bit differently - in particular the astonishing effects that Robin Guthrie had added to his guitar work. It was an album where a drum machine rather than a real stcicksman seemed like a stroke of genius.
Before too long, this became my 'go-to' record when I just wanted to wind down after a hard night's dancing and drinking. Maybe subconsciously I wanted its dream-like nature to settle me down quickly and peacefully within the land of nod.....that and the fact that a girl I was nuts about loved the record and it was a way of getting to talk to her without feeling too much of a dick.
Nothing came of my efforts to get to know said girl any better but I'm happy to say that didn't lessen my fondness for this record. But having been drawn-in by the guitars, I was soon a convert to the vocals of Elizabeth Fraser. This is singing like nothing else on planet indie-pop. It's just, for the most part, a series of noises and sounds and not actual words but they are the perfect match for the instrumentation. And in LP closer Musette and Drums you will find something that I consider truly special and up there as my favourite non-single piece of music of all time.
Until the other week, it must have been at least 25 years since I played this LP in its entirety - the band are one that Mrs Villain just has never taken too - and it's not an LP I've ever owned on CD. I am thrilled to bits that I've rediscovered it, scratches, jumps, bumps, hisses and all.
mp3 : Cocteau Twins - When Mama Was Moth
mp3 : Cocteau Twins - Five Ten Fiftyfold
mp3 : Cocteau Twins - Sugar Hiccup
mp3 : Cocteau Twins - In Our Angelhood
mp3 : Cocteau Twins - Glass Candle Grenades
mp3 : Cocteau Twins - In The Gold Dust Rush
mp3 : Cocteau Twins - The Tinderbox (of a Heart)
mp3 : Cocteau Twins - Multifoiled
mp3 : Cocteau Twins - My Love Paramour
mp3 : Cocteau Twins - Musette and Drums
Majestic. Unworldly. Epic. Haunting. Gothic. Flawless. Lovely. And very occasionally danceable.......