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This review is from: Head Over Heels (Audio CD)
The Cocteau Twins' vocalist Elizabeth Frazer is one of the most influential vocalists in rock history, and the band that she fronted was at the forefront of one of the many psychedelic-rock genre offshoots - 'dream-pop'. Frazer consciously appropriated the voice as an instrumental appendage. The Cocteau Twin's melodies are sublime which Frazer delivers by way of an ethereal and other-wordly contralto. Frazer's 'voice instrument' is wrapped in layer upon layer of Robin Guthrie's shimmering oneiric guitar and keyboard lines.
'Head Over Heels' (1983) blends celestial singalonds, middle-eastern psalms, majestic spirituals, vibrant melismas, tinkling guitars and neo-classical keyboards. Cocteau Twins' songs exhibited the levity and grace of madrigals but also the gloom and pomp of requiems. The dream-pop of the Cocteau Twins shares the contemplative quality and the passion for textures with 'shoegazing' bands like 'Slowdive' and 'My Bloody Valentine', but diverges from this genre in terms of both narrative development and emotional intensity.
'Head Over Heels' is not only one of the key albums of the 1980s but remains one of the seminal recordings of the last quarter century.