BBC Sessions

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Jon Wiederhorn
Years before the Cranberries, Lush, and Cranes started weaving shimmering guitar lines through ethereal female vocals, the Cocteau Twins were crafting gauzy sonic popscapes that glimmered and bobbed like a graceful sailboat in a deep-sea, electric-guitar haze. The band was driven by the pristine production and gliding guitar work of Robin Guthrie and the melodic baby-talk of vocalist Liz Fraser, but the brooding rhythms of bassist Simon Raymonde and the band's patented Roland 808 drum machine programming were also integral to the Cocteau Twins' distinct sound. The double-CD BBC SESSIONS features a variety of studio recordings made for BBC Radio between 1982 and 1996 ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Jon Wiederhorn
Years before the Cranberries, Lush, and Cranes started weaving shimmering guitar lines through ethereal female vocals, the Cocteau Twins were crafting gauzy sonic popscapes that glimmered and bobbed like a graceful sailboat in a deep-sea, electric-guitar haze. The band was driven by the pristine production and gliding guitar work of Robin Guthrie and the melodic baby-talk of vocalist Liz Fraser, but the brooding rhythms of bassist Simon Raymonde and the band's patented Roland 808 drum machine programming were also integral to the Cocteau Twins' distinct sound. The double-CD BBC SESSIONS features a variety of studio recordings made for BBC Radio between 1982 and 1996 and charts the group's development from celestial goths heavily influenced by The Cure and Kate Bush to one of the most innovative and unusual English pop groups. In addition to evocative versions of familiar songs like "Musette and Drums," "Serpentskirt" and "Hitherto," the album includes two previously unreleased tracks: a desperate sounding cover of the Billie Holiday song "Strange Fruit" and "My Hue and Cry," a haunting instrumental full of echoing guitars and lazily urgent beats. And while the production isn't quite as galactic as on the band's studio albums, the pared-down sound lends the group's music an added sense of immediacy.
All Music Guide - Jack Rabid
On the surface, this isn't as essential a release as other BBC sessions LPs. Because the Cocteaus used drum machines, the backing tracks and the rhythms replicate the known versions much more than other bands forced to record live in the studio. Yet BBC Sessions is still a whopper of a treat for fans and the uninitiated, two hours of sound that builds and builds until one is overcome with unspeakable, barely understood emotions. At 30 songs on two CDs, it's an overview that sheds light on the masterful way the trio mutated so subtly, until their artistically premature end. It starts a bit too slowly on disc one, when the band couldn't really fight accusations of being Siouxsie & the Banshees wannabes -- they were stealing whole dollops of the Banshees' vanguard style -- but were somehow captivating anyway. The first half of the CD indulges liberally in this period before the magic really starts in, firing off with one of the two previously unreleased songs, a stark and sharply striking cover of "Strange Fruit" that has to startle fans of the Billie Holiday standard. Haunting! From there it starts to upshift, gaining more confidence and bushels of beauty as Elizabeth Fraser starts to blossom into one of the most riveting voices to ever blow air into a mic. The band's playing becomes suppler, less tense and taut, and more billowing, setting the tone for the prettier aspects of the U.K. dream pop movement that would come later. As disc two opens, one really strikes gold, as a more advanced Robin Guthrie begins to explore soundscapes barely touched on in pop history, leaving Fraser to surf and float among the splendor like a North Pole adventurer putting her spikes into a wonderful winter snowstorm. Mesmerizing guitar tapestries mix with more oblique and obscurer sounds and ever-gentler rhythms to create the most striking moods imaginable. Bells chime, bass trembles, guitars bob and hover, and vocals coo and play. It's still hard to imagine more subconscious yet playful, artistic music. By the time one hits 1996 and the ever-glistening Milk & Kisses era, the group, anything but a spent force, is finding yet new ways to restate a case of wonder that seems ever more limitless as one approaches track 30. Waking dreams have almost never sounded better than this.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/12/1999
  • Label: Rykodisc
  • UPC: 014431049729
  • Catalog Number: 10497

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Wax and Wane (3:50)
  2. 2 Garlands (4:19)
  3. 3 Alas Dies Laughing (3:29)
  4. 4 Feathers-Oar-Blades (2:19)
  5. 5 Hearsay Please (4:23)
  6. 6 Dear Heart (3:37)
  7. 7 Blind Dumb Deaf (3:41)
  8. 8 Hazel (3:22)
  9. 9 The Tinderbox (Of a Heart) (4:46)
  10. 10 Strange Fruit (1:52)
  11. 11 Hitherto (3:57)
  12. 12 From the Flagstones (3:32)
  13. 13 Sugar Hiccup (3:41)
  14. 14 In Our Angelhood (3:56)
  15. 15 My Hue and Cry (3:02)
  16. 16 Musette and Drums (3:00)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Hitherto (3:56)
  2. 2 From the Flagstones (3:55)
  3. 3 Musette and Drums (3:33)
  4. 4 Pepper-Tree (4:12)
  5. 5 Beatrix (4:06)
  6. 6 Ivo (3:03)
  7. 7 Otterley (3:34)
  8. 8 Serpentskirt (4:29)
  9. 9 Golden-Vein (3:46)
  10. 10 Half-Gifts (2:44)
  11. 11 Seekers Who Are Lovers (3:50)
  12. 12 Calfskin Smack (4:23)
  13. 13 Fifty-Fifty Clown (4:27)
  14. 14 Violaine (3:15)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Cocteau Twins Primary Artist
Technical Credits
Cocteau Twins Composer
Barry Andrews Producer
Lincoln Fong Engineer
Elizabeth Fraser Composer
Dale Buffin Griffin Producer
Robin Guthrie Composer
Mark Radcliffe Producer
John Walters Producer
John Williams Producer
Nick Gomm Engineer
Simon Raymonde Composer
David Dade Engineer
Harry Parker Engineer
Mike Engles Engineer
Lis Roberts Producer
Jim Lahat Producer
Suzanne Gilfilian Producer
Paul Strudwick Engineer
Lewis Allan Composer
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