Unpopular opinion but this is the coolest Cocteau Twins record. It was their first-ever release on 4AD or any other label, with no single or EP preceding it; cut before they learned to be ethereal but still fantastical and unintelligible as shit. Ice-cold 808 snares crack through blazing sheets of post-punk guitar, strung up with razor wire. Bewitched Liz shrieking (in her normal range too; there’s almost no falsetto) through a flange unit, hollowing out any man in her path. I imagine at the time this seemed like a feminine counterpoint to The Cure’s goth trilogy, but while Bob Smith & co. sulked around in their dejection, Liz Fraser and Robin Guthrie sound urgent as hell, as if they’re compelled by an evil spell to transmit these sounds. A thousand times cooler and more ferocious than any Banshees record. Check out “Blood Bitch,” “But I’m Not,” “Blind Dumb Deaf,” “The Hollow Men” and “Grail Overfloweth.” With the re-release of this and Victorialand, all of the Cocteaus’ proper studio albums for 4AD are now thankfully back in print. Remastered from the original analog tapes with artwork faithful to the original 23 Envelope designs and code for digital download. Recommended.
- black vinyl pressing
- remastered from original analog masters
- digital download included
- music label: 4AD 2020
reviewed by Peppermint Pig 03/2020