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See all 16 tracks on this disc
|2. From The Flagstones|
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See all 14 tracks on this disc
The Cocteau Twins were one of the more distinctive recording acts of the 1980s and their dreamy, atmospheric sound provided an ethereal sonic template for many Euro-pop groups of the time. With Elizabeth Fraser's haunting vocals and Robin Guthrie's innovative use of guitars, drum machines, and other electronic instrumentation, the Cocteau Twins created a rich, textured sound that endured over a large number of recordings. This double disc serves nicely as a greatest-hits package as well as a lengthy memento of the band's evolution from 1982 through 1996. Including shimmering renditions of old favorites like "Musette and Drums" and "Ivo," as well as a stirring rendition of Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit," this collection is a must for all Cocteau Twins fans. --Mitch Myers
Top Customer Reviews
In case you haven't figured it out, some of the Twins' better albums are underrepresened in these BBC live sessions. Nothing at all from Victorialand. From the impeccable and divine Heaven or Las Vegas, only Fifty-Fifty Clown. And nothing from Blue Bell Knoll OR Four-Calendar Cafe. They must have performed these songs live on BBC, at some point!!!
I still chose to give this album 4 stars, in spite of this, because this compilation is probably the last "new" stuff that we fans will ever get to hear. The only thing left to do now is to make compilations from their studio albums and EP's. (By the way, I refuse to buy Stars and Topsoil, for the reason that I could always make my own compilations with a CD burner).
Of the two discs, I enjoy far more the second one. The Milk and Kisses live recordings are excellent!! And I enjoy this CD's recording of From the Flagstones. On the first CD, there is a live recording of the same song, but on that recording Elizabeth tries too hard to clone the studio recording, and it winds up being a flop.Read more ›
The remaining tracks are mostly from Milk and Kisses. On these tracks, especially, it's easier to hear details and nuances of Fraser's vocals that get lost in the highly produced studio versions of the tracks. This is especially noticeable in the quiet and personal "Half-gifts" and some of the heartier signing in "Seekers Who Are Lovers".
My only quibble with the album is that it's questionable just how "live" some of these performances are, particularly the recordings from the 80's. In spots, Fraser is obviously singing along with tapes of back-up vocals (either that or she brought a clone into the studio). Nearly the first minute of "The Tinderbox (of a heart)" sounds identical to the studio version.
In contrast, the tracks from the 90's sound more "live" (either the drum machines are better, or there are real musicians sitting in), and Fraser doesn't use any taped backing vocals. Since there's a lot of multi-tracked vocals on these tunes, Fraser has to choose which parts to sing. Although this helps you hear her singing more clearly, the absence of some of these parts leaves the songs sounding incomplete (especially true of "Violaine").
Still, those minor complaints aside, this is a great listen. Fraser's unique vocal style is why most of us love the Cocteau Twins, and it's great to be able to hear it front and center over the long evolution of the group's sound.
Most recent customer reviews
This CD contains renditions of their songs that are slightly different and, to my mind, perhaps more intimate, than the studio versions. Read morePublished on May 19 2004 by Rod Doe
This is an album you should enjoy and enjoy a lot. Incidentally when a BBC sessions album is released by a band it doesn't really mean it's a live album. Read morePublished on June 1 2003 by filterite
I am not a huge Cocteau Twins fan but find their music works well as a background for when I am working. Read morePublished on Dec 11 2002 by Indian music lover
I'm as big a fan as they come, but live Cocteau has a problem -- there's just one Elizabeth. On studio albums, as you know, there are numerous vocal tracks, creating a rich,... Read morePublished on March 3 2002 by Erik D. Robson
Cocteau Twins blended a wonderful concoction of heavenly voices and synesthetic guitars until you were transported into realms not seen by mere mortals. Read morePublished on June 22 2001 by Brian Wallace (Co-author of It's Not Your Hair)
A remarkable collection of live songs by the Cocteau Twins. Unfortunatly, no tracks are included from certain albums, and I really would've liked to have heard those songs live. Read morePublished on Dec 3 2000 by Green Jeanz
Beeing a fan of Cocteau Twins since 1992 my reference album was and still is Heaven or Las Vegas. The BBC Sessions allowed me to understand more of the CT, specially the early... Read morePublished on July 4 2000 by Antonio
this very nice set overcame my good-but-not-great impression of CT. another reviewer called their performances here "coarse" and that's exactly right: in a few places... Read morePublished on March 26 2000
I have to take issue with "A music fan from San Diego" regarding the Cocteau Twins live. I saw them in Manchester (U.K. Read morePublished on Jan. 4 2000 by DMDW
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