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Complements the 4AD albums,
This review is from: Lullabies To Violaine, Volume 1 (Audio CD)
Lullabies was the Cocteau Twins first EP, released in Autumn 1982 a couple of months after their debut album Garlands, and Violaine marked the final release by the band in the summer of 1996. Now that the lavish 4CD box set has sold out, the discs have been made available in two double-CD sets, of which the first represents their 8 year association with Four AD, and the second their period with Fontana. This distinction is less marked in America, where albums from Blue Bell Knoll onward were all on Capitol.
Volume One largely replaces the lavish and extremely expensive CD box set of singles and EPs that appeared in 1990, which marked the debut of most of the tracks on CD, as all their singles and EPs prior to Iceblink Luck had been vinyl releases only, and only a few of the lead tracks had been taken from albums. Most of the discs from the set were then released individually, though an exclusive four-track disc of rarities was not.
Though less lavish, this attractive package contains the vast majority of the contents of The Singles Collection, on two discs averaging an hour apiece. All tracks have been mastered by Robin Guthrie with Walter Coelho at Masterpiece and where they sound dissimilar to the previous CD versions, they are in my view improved, with greater clarity in the detail.
There are no previously released rarities from vinyl and cassette compilations, including those from The Singles Collection four-track disc.
The one exception to this is Orange Appled, which began life on a Melody Maker give-away 7" vinyl EP in 1986. It was added in 1990 to the new CD version of Love's Easy Tears and retains its position here. I imagine a disc that did collect those odds and ends and added items like the NME version of Ivo and the In Our Angelhood demo from the Pleasantly Surprised cassette would be snapped up pretty pronto.
Contrarily, the extended 12" mix of Peppermint Pig (the version broadcast by John Peel in the 1983 Festive Fifty, where it was voted to no. 28 by listeners) was added to the CD EP release but is not included here.
Furthermore, two of the tracks are included in previously unreleased alternative versions. Aikea-Guinea appears in slightly different mixes everytime it is released, as the beautiful counter-melody sung in the background by Elizabeth Fraser becomes more extensive and further forward in the mix, quite subtly on The Pink Opaque, more noticeably on Stars And Topsoil, and here competing for dominance with the main vocal. Secondly, the annoying fade-in start has been abandoned - a big improvement as far as I am concerned.
Both versions of Pearly-Dewdrops' Drops, the 7" and 12" mixes, have been dropped in favour of a new mix which most closely resembles the 12" version but without the tinkly-bells and vocals at the start, and remixed particularly to feature a previously buried guitar part. Again, I like the new mix but it does mean that the definitive 12" mix (as also played by Peel in 1984 when it made no. 2 in that year's Festive Fifty) is unavailable now that the CD EP is out of print.
Strongly recommended, though, especially if you only have the albums. A different mix of Sugar Hiccups appeared on Head Over Heels, and Iceblink Luck was on Heaven Or Las Vegas. All the others were single or EP releases only, though some have been included on compilations.