Artist – Album: Cocteau Twins – Heaven or Las Vegas
Released: 17th September 1990
Sounds Like: Dream Pop (what a perfect genre name)
Cocteau Twins were formed right on the cusp of the Eighties, and they spend the majority of that decade fashioning exquisite trancelike art-rock, built on Robin Guthrie’s hypnotic guitar lines, programmed drum machines and Elizabeth Fraser’s elfish, indecipherable vocals. By the turn of the Nineties though, they garnished the new decade with a fresh new approach, and where once their music was hazy and weird it became (relatively) clear and (relatively) poppy.
The move worked, and Heaven or Las Vegas was their successful album, reaching number seven in the UK charts – helped no doubt by the fact that it fit snugly with the burgeoning shoegaze craze. The title track was probably the best representation of the changes they’d made – there’s a definite verse-chorus structure to the song, Fraser’s lyrics are newly intelligible, and the whole feel is no longer blissfully directionless. Other stand outs include the dancing ‘Iceblink Luck’ (an amazing tune that I struggle to resist playing on repeat) and the epic, rolling closer ‘Frou-Frou Foxes in Midsummer Fires’.
Ultimately though, the greatest thing about the record is one of those things that remained unchanged – Fraser’s unparalleled voice. Hers is one of the best of all time, and if you’ve yet to discover her divine singing then Heaven or Las Vegas, perhaps along with her superlative contributions to This Mortal Coil’s ‘Song to the Siren’ and Massive Attack’s ‘Teardrop’, is a stunning introduction.
Albumaday... rating: 8/10
1. Cherry-Coloured Funk – 3:12
2. Pitch the Baby – 3:14
3. Iceblink Luck – 3:18
4. Fifty-Fifty Clown – 3:10
5. Heaven or Las Vegas – 4:58
6. I Wear Your Ring – 3:29
7. Fotzepolitic – 3:30
8. Wolf in the Breast – 3:31
9. Road, River and Rail – 3:21
10. Frou-Frou Foxes in Midsummer Fires – 5:38
Listen to ‘Iceblink Luck’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wl5EqjtRuGU