Album #535 – Treasure
The Cocteau Twins are one of those groups that you either know and are mesmerized by their work OR, you have no freakin’ clue who they are. That’s OK. I love the fact that I am the only one among my friends who knows who they are. Their music is not for everyone. And even when I discovered them, I didn’t get them right away. Some tracks are angelic, while others are droning, random and sparse. But, is any band perfect? The Cocteau Twins comprise lead singer Elizabeth Fraser along with guitarist Robin Guthrie and bassist Simon Raymonde. These three individuals created a sound that has been copied BUT, never able to be duplicated. The key is their lead singer. Elizabeth Fraser is my favourite female singer. Her vocals are mostly indecipherable gibberish yet, she conveys so much emotion when she sings that you can instantly know what she is singing about. She conveys emotion better than any singer I know. She changes her voice to suit the song. It’s not always pretty, not always harsh but always suits the song. Their sound would not work at all without Fraser’s angelic voice. The tag “voice of an angel” I find is heavily overused. There are few people who fall into that category and in my opinion, Elizabeth Fraser’s voice and style of singing fits nicely into that label. It’s no wonder that singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley and her were very close. Buckley is her only male equivalent. It’s a shame he’s no longer with us but, Liz is still alive and kicking, yet rarely performs in public. When she does, much like Kate Bush, it is an event. This is due to her shyness. It’s always the shy ones who dazzle us and take our breath away. The Cocteau Twins broke up in 1996 and there is another album from them further down the list, in the early 90’s. Treasure has it’s ups and downs musically. Not every song is amazing but, by this album their musical trademark was fully realized. They really created dream pop and ethereal music before there was such a thing. Guthrie and Raymonde compliment Fraser’s singing magnificently. Their sparse musical accompaniment is key to their successful sound: lots of reverb, jangly guitars and bass, drum machines and overall droning. Fraser’s singing makes them stand out and that is why other’s have failed at trying to recreate this sound. Nobody can compare to Elizabeth Fraser, the true voice of an angel.
Highlights include: Ivo, Persephone, Pandora (the album’s best song and one that perfectly captures the sound of Cocteau Twins), Amelia, Cicely, Otterley and Donimo. Overall, I give Treasure, 4 out of 5.
Next: Out of Step by Minor Threat