Milk & Kisses sees the Cocteaus straddling the apex of their classic ethereal pop sound with the increasingly mainstream sound of alt rock, but by this time, the band had mastered blending acoustic instruments with electronics - the guitars sound immaculately digital and the synths sound like crystal artifacts. In our current age of endless lo-fi-ism and analog retro-fetishism, this record is a big refreshing gulp of ice cold water on a hot ass day. It would prove to be their last album after their next studio sessions fizzled into a breakup, but they managed to squeeze off a few final brilliant songs here - specifically, the Lynchian-western vibes of “Serpentskirt,” Jeff Buckley love letter “Rilkean Heart,” the life-affirming “Treasure Hiding” and dazzling coda “Seekers Who Are Lovers.” Liz has never sounded as grounded as she does on “Tishbite” - who knows where they might have gone if they’d made a few more records (drum & bass? reggaeton?). Opener “Violaine” is a big stern slice of guitar rock that really shows where the gang was at in 1996… it’s not really my thing (seek out Mark Clifford’s Otherness version if you can) but characteristically brilliant songwriting shines through nonetheless. The artwork is a bit more on-brand than the unsightly departure that was Four Calendar Cafe (also reissued), but it’s still got ‘we’re on a major label now’ stamped all over it. This nicely-packaged import reissue is the first time Milk & Kisses has been available for less than a c-note, so get in before its too late. Recommended.
- black vinyl pressing
- European import
- housed in high-gloss jacket w/ printed inner sleeve
- digital download included
- music label: Mercury 2019
reviewed by Peppermint Pig 07/2019
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