I’m not a musician and I don’t play any instruments. But music is one of my loves. So I’m taking notes in these reviews.
OK, the Cocteau Twins have been retired since 1996, at least as a duo.
OK, the sybille titles of their songs have had many a translator arrested. But does that mean I can’t tell you all about the thrill of listening to this masterpiece of their discography?
Heaven or Las Vegas : a CD to listen to when the going gets tough.
1990. I’m an accountant. Every morning, on the tram that takes me to my balance sheets, invoices and other dubious clients, I watch CT soundtrack images pass by on my K7.
Cherry-coloured funk: first track on the album. Not my favourite, but Liz’s voice (or rather voices) comes into its own. Grave, acute, this track deserves a remix that you can find on the compilation Lullabies To Violaine, track slowed down by Seefeel.
Pitch The Baby arrive sur le quai : un petit bijou, avec une mention spéciale pour la basse omniprésente de Simon Raymonde.
Now it’s Iceblind luck’s turn to sit down in front of me. Liz Frazer is joyful. The lyrics, still incomprehensible (but everyone can make their own film), go round and round.
Liz calls her twin sister to the rescue and ends up on a babyyy… (the album was recorded during the singer’s maternity and shortly after the birth of her child).
Fifty-fifty clown: an excellent soundtrack for my underground journey. It sounds like ABBA on morphine, with a metro-nomic rhythm that suddenly drops Liz back to the surface and the album title… Liz’s voice guides the path of my urban transport as it appears.
Heaven or Las Vegas punches its ticket. One of the best beaches,” admitted my walkman at the time. I fly 10,000 metres above the tram and close my eyes when Robin Guthrie electrifies me with his guitars.
The tram driver keeps his wits about him as I Wear Your Ring bursts in without warning. The tram echoes Liz’s harmonies. It’s so beautiful that I don’t want to leave my seat. But now I’m about to arrive at my destination.
Fotzepolitic: another knockout track. A twirling rhythm takes all the passengers on an orange saraband “See and saw bounce me back to you… will you…”. Robin Guthrie wakes up and takes control.
At the next crossroads, Wolf In The Breast gives my favourite singer the right of way again. A lullaby for her baby, if I’ve understood correctly. The traffic lights are orange, then red, and the sounds of the song and the street blend strangely together. The clip is there, behind the windows of my vehicle of the day.
Road River And Rail takes its turn, the bass returns to the rails, and what a way to do it! The tram is on the home straight, in a dark, wintry setting.
I’m cold, but Frou-frou Foxes In Midsummer Fires will warm up my spleen just before the terminus. CT has no equal when it comes to closing albums. A long Liz intro with discreet piano, before an explosion of the senses. A dream pop summit.
I’ve got to wake up and get to work. Cocteau Twins isn’t going to pay my rent.
In 8 hours and 54 minutes, though, I’ll be heading back to heaven.