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Garlands [Original recording reissued]

Cocteau Twins Audio CD


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1. Blood Bitch
2. Wax And Wane
3. But I'm Not
4. Blind Dumb Deaf
5. Shallow Then Halo
6. The Hollow Men
7. Garlands
8. Grail Overfloweth

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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  22 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars get the import version!! 22 Feb 2001
By Matt Greer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
If you were to listen to the Cocteau Twins music in chronological order, a steady and firm progression from this album to their last is obvious. So Garlands, being their first album, sounds very raw and different from their later stuff; which is a product of years of refinement and aging.
But with that said, Garlands is just excellent. It's spacey, minimal, and a bit dark. But somehow the whole is so much more than the parts. Liz's voice is not as well developed here as in later offerings, but still manages to offer a very unique feel. Robin and Will provide guitar and bass respectively, and a very simple drum machine provides percussion. The end result is a barren, but great album. I really love Garlands.
But do keep in mind this sounds nothing like almost anything they've ever done. If you already have some Cocteau Twin albums and want to give this a try, be prepared for something very different
If you already have this and love it as much as I do, track down Lullabies. It's in a similar mode as Garlands.
Finally, GET THE IMPORT! If you can find the import of Garlands, it has 6 bonus tracks. 4 of which are a session on the John Peel BBC show, and the other two are gems in their own right.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars haunting and original 3 April 2000
By Christopher Kingman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
the first time i heard this album, it changed my life. rarely do i stumble across music so captivating and unique that i'm hooked on the first listen, but this album did it for me. soon after i heard this i had the cocteau twins' entire discography, and while much of it is good, some of it great (and some of it not so good), this to me remains on top.
why? mainly because of the dark haunting, minimal atmosphere. no, it doesn't sound like later cocteau twins, although the genesis of their ethereal, dream-pop sound is here. but what struck me about this album was the raw emotion, the seething rage hiding underneath the surface. the foundation of the music is provided by will hegge's (absent on later albums, eventually replaced by simon raymonde) menacing basslines, and simple drum machine patterns that nonetheless serve to hold the whole thing together. robin guthrie's guitar technique is utterly fascinating, the way he coaxes dark soundscapes out of the instrument, and the sound meshes perfectly with the bass. finally, elizabeth fraser's vocals are entirely original, she seems to be using her voice as another instrument more than a device to convey lyrical content (a trend which only intensified on later albums).
in interviews from the time, the band mentions that they were hugely influenced by the birthday party, and although the sound is different, the spirit is similar. the direct rawness and edge of this album is far more engaging to me than the cocteau twins' later work, although i like most of that too for it's own virtues, just don't expect this to sound like that.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars underrated and overlooked, but very well done 23 May 2002
By "mqz77" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is perhaps a more guitar-oriented album than most other Cocteau Twins albums; the roaring gothic guitar lines of Robin Guthrie dominate the soundscape, but without displacing Liz Frazer's deadly vocal stylings, which seem more sweet on most future releases. It's a chilling, very gothic piece of work. Though their first lp, it reveals a different side of the Twins' music.
"Garlands" came out in 1982, so it belongs to a scene and an aesthetic very different from the one that the Twins belonged to in the mid-80s. Think of Joy Division, Lydia Lunch, or early Siouxsie and the Banshees. The mid-80s indie and alternative scene, or at least the part of it that the Twins identified with most, was less intensely morbid or dark than the dense post-punk that had preceded it; so that a later Twins album like Treasure has a certain aesthetic identification with New Order or the Smiths. In fact, the change that the Cocteau Twins underwent mirrors the one by which Joy Division morphed into New Order. It was actually a very good thing that the aesthetics changed, but on "Garlands", you can hear a band that easily holds its own with (and even surpasses) something like "Pornography"-era Cure.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simply beautiful... 23 Feb 2002
By Philippe Landry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
out of all the Cocteau's albums, this is the only one i like. just like Dead Can Dance's first album, it totally different from the rest of their catalogue. it's atmospheirc and eerie. it's like The Cure's Seventeen Seconds/Fatih/Pornography with cEvin key of Skinny Puppy doing the 808 drum machine programming. but even that comparison doesn't describe it as well as just listening to it. i love all the tracks. i listen to it from start to finish. Liz's vocals are are so...*sigh*...perfect. Robin's guitars are so...*sigh* perfect. this album is definately gothic...nocturnal...autumnal...wintry...gloomy...a good rainy sunday album...or a good burning-the-midnight-oil album(much like a Joy Division album). it's such a dark and pretty little debut album.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Different...But Still Really Good 8 Feb 2003
By Jin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
"Garlands", the first of many Cocteau Twins masterpieces is definitely the odd-one-out. If you've been listening to the Twins' other work, which has its own classic, unique sound, you'll definitely be shocked after hearing "Garlands." If the Cocteau Twins have a really dark album, this is definitely it, with its angry, menacing-sounding guitar and constant, dark beats via a drum-machine (which I really love, by the way). The vocals here aren't light and heavenly like on the releases to come (especially Victorialand); they sound spooky and haunting. The best songs, in my opinion, are "Wax and Wane," "Shallow then Halo," "Blind Dumb Deaf" and "Garlands."
I wouldn't recommend starting off your Cocteau Twins' collection with Garlands, because it isn't an accurate portrayal of the Cocteau Twins' sound. After Garlands, it completely changed. If you are interested in starting somewhere, I would highly recommend getting "Treasure" first, because it combines all of the Cocteau Twins' sound. However, Garlands is one of my most favorite Cocteau Twins albums and you should definitely own it.
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