George Starostin's Reviews



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Terry Capewell <> (28.05.2004)

I began listening to the 'Twins music late in my musical career, I was once introduced to them in the mid 80's and couldn't appreciate it at all..this was due to my musical background - jazz funk of the order of Chick Corea, Level 42(early stuff), Stanley Clarke, Weather report & all the rest and as a bass player was obviously interested in that music.

No the real first taster was seeing the 'Iceblink Luck' video on MTV in 1990 and was struck by that ethereal sound so I bought the album Heaven or Las Vegas which I have been told is the more acceptable music of the 'Twins without being too commercial..since then I have bought all the ones after Heaven.. and add the odd earlier ones when it suits me.

From a musicians opinion this music is indeed unique and cannot be catagorised, it doesn't lie anywhere in or between World Music, New Age, Electronic, Avant Garde or whatever your tastes are, maybe the only way I could describe it is 'Heavy Metal Enya'.

Where ever did Robin or Elisabeth got there ideas or influences to produce these swirling sounds is beyond me and I think to most 'super' musicians and when I have played some of the CD's to my friends they look at me with strange gazes and say 'Hang on, you like all that flashy bass funk stuff, what's this all about?' well what's it all about is what is inside the music and without being philisophical(I have heard comments on reviews like the 'Sound of God etc) it is composed from somewhere inside the Robin's & Liz's soul. I defy any muso outh there to write, play & produce a 'Twins clone song and there is no way it can be copied..the die hard fans would certainly know the difference.

Overall they have earned a place in the music hall of fame and there music has been used countlessly on tv ads, tv shows etc and although there split was a disappointment to all the fans I think in their minds they knew that they had reached the culmination of their creative talent, the pinacle being the gorgeous Treasure and the slightly commercial side to Heaven & Las Vegas, Four Calender Cafe & the final Milk & Kisses.

If you haven't listened to the 'Twins then if you are serious about music, whether playing or just listening then you owe it to yourself to go out and buy one of the albums, whether it be the ones I have mentioned or the other I have not. To miss out on this music is indeed a a loss on your behalf.

<> (20.07.2004)

I mostly agree with your vision of Cocteau Twins, and want to add something subjective. You gave them 2 for listenability, like, for instance, Can. I believe that Twins music is much more accessible: you can use it as great background during your holiday with friends, you can relax with it and, of course, you may any time carefully listen it trying to detect actual feelings behind songs. Really interesting task these feelings are so encoded, and you never can prove yourself. 'Sugar Hiccup' may seem cheerful and 'Persephone' may seem paranoid, but I can t be sure at 100%.  I agree that Treasure is their best: feeling themes on it are very diverse. Twins may not deserve four stars band rating, but they really deserve to hunting for and listening for each true music lover.


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David Dickson <> (29.03.2004)

Dude. This has got to be one of the weirdest-sounding albums I've ever HEARD OF. It's rather intriguing, though, 'cause it actually uses overblown '80's echoey production to good effect. Well, so does Def Leppard's Hysteria, but we're getting off track here. The only problem I have with it is this: The songs are too short. I know punk rock has some good ideas, Fraser, but you don't have to limit EVERY SONG to less than four minutes. Other than that, though, it's a solid and interesting music listen; one that teases the mind rather than easing the mind, if you get my drift. Oh yeah, and George--how can you tell what the hell she's singing? You must have ears like an elephant, man--English is my first language, and I can't even make out more than five words on this thing.


Goran Janicijevic <> (03.04.2004)

Cocteaus are Scottish. I guess that qualifies them to be Celts. BTW, their name is borrowed from their Scottish colleagues' Simple Minds early song.


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Jessica Gluckman <> (16.04.2004)

I suppose, in comparison to Victorialand and songs from their multiple mid-80s EPs, Blue Bell Knoll is more lyrically comprehensible, but I still think she dabbles in singing what she once explained were words she lifted from foreign language dictionaries, simply because "She liked the sound," although there are some notable exceptions -- particularly when she sings "Protect this small angel" on "For Phoebe, Still a Baby" (it may come as no surprise that Liz was pregnant with her first child while recording this album), but "Athol-Brose" (named for an alcohol-laden Scottish porridge) is about as easy to decipher as "Little Spacey." This is a big turning point, though, and Liz becomes progressively more coherent on the next few albums ahead (with some exceptions -- "Violaine" on Milk & Kisses is sung in some partible backwards English) for better or for worse.

Now, for Robin Guthrie's contribution to this album -- he supposedly loathes synthesizers yet curiously has no problem with making his guitar sound like a whole bank of synthesizers -- what difference does it make, really, Robin, when the end results sound the same? It took me over fifty listens before I finally realized that what I had believed to be a synthesizer on "Itchy Glowbo Blow" turned out to be Robin strumming through a gauntlet of effects. I'd once read an interview with Simon Raymonde where he confessed that while recording this album, often he and Robin would fill up so many tracks with their shimmery arpeggios that Liz would find no tracks left on which she could record her vocals.

I've also read that the Cocteaus had been doing excessive amounts of cocaine prior to and, with exception of its one pregnant member, during the recording of Blue Bell Knoll. I don't know if that's true, but if it is, it's insane. If I were to associate any drug with the music of the Cocteau Twins, possibly the last to come to mind would be cocaine.


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