Sink yourself within sonic seduction with the Cocteau Twins's 'Milk & Kisses'


Sink yourself within sonic seduction…

welcome to the Cocteau Twins with ‘Milk & Kisses’

By Ian Browne Shamrock News

What, you’ve never heard of the Cocteau Twins?! Or perhaps you left them to the forgotten 4AD Goth days? Have you ever pondered the origins of the sweet voice within Massive Attack’s ‘Teardrop’? Sensibly; ultimately-nurturing, they kissed the ether with more albums that tranquilised the corrupted days of empty fear and workplace tensions till 1996 with their final album ‘Milk & Kisses’. So let’s begin from there shall we, at the end.

Yes, I am well aware that I speak to a wide demographic here in the Northern Rivers, but that’s why I chose the Cocteau Twins, as everyone is catered for. Just open your neural pathways. They will do that for you anyway, as no one has come close to what they have achieved with their angelic, operatic, sonic-flange-filled guitar nirvana. Otherwise, only ‘The Cure’ can take me there. A UK outfit, the Cocteau Twins are truly a band whose music is difficult to describe. While The Cure’s most played hit around the rat traps of Oz ‘Love Cats’ is my least enjoyed, the Cocteau Twins’ popular single ‘Iceblink Luck’, well, I could listen to that all day long. During the Sydney punk days of the eighties, I still enjoyed ‘The Cure’ and ‘Siouxsie and the Banshees’. However, it wasn’t till the early nineties with trips to ‘Red Eye Records’ that saw me filling my bag with second-hand 4AD Goth vinyl, did I fall in love with the Cocteau Twins. Okay, Rage too was playing the Iceblink Luck film clip, but my first album would be 1988’s ‘Blue Bell Knoll’. Their earliest songs from 1981 were very much Goth in genre, with gurgling bass lines; industrial electronic drum, and high-pitched guitar radiating from those early sonic wastelands; singer Elizabeth Frazer’s voice was vastly different to the more dream-state indie-sonnets that would rush through copper wires into tantalised cochlear’ in the years to come. They were always more popular in the UK than Oz, with ‘Heaven Or Las Vegas’ reaching number seven in the charts there, along with two other albums in the top 20. One of these treasures being….

Milk & Kisses: The nineties took much of Goth to the US with industrial double- kick and power-chord-metal riffs, though the familiar UK circular high-pitched dark carnival- horror- flick guitar rhythm remained, edging through the fog of chorus. Such bands that influenced all that, the Cocteau Twins are an enigma that deliver the ultimate peace, but one that smacks streetwise. Like all Cocteau Twins albums Milk & Kisses is a journey. From the very beginning of this CD the song ‘Violaine’ transports you to eighties 4AD Cocteau Twins, the entire album envelops you within a musky whisper of darkness, fizzing guitar riffs that lift in a rush through the universe with Frazer’s amazing voice, an angelic caress that is neither English, French, Latin or even Gaelic, but yours to ponder its exquisiteness. You make sense of the story, a sound that designs your starry night, taking the listener on a voyage to the heavens through all time and back. One time lovers with a daughter, Robin Guthrie and Elizabeth Frazer; who was also seeing Jeff Buckley for a spell, again teamed up with fellow muso and producer Simon Raymonde to release this powerful sound with Mercury Records in 1996. Through the middle of the album the songs are dreamlike, somewhat organic and more delicate, ending with an almost operatic song ‘seekers who are lovers’- which shrieks its birth in black-purple velvet, along with its sympathetic journey through humanity and loss.

“Get in touch with your feminine-self!” Okay, so it’s a nuisance hitting the corners and creeks in the hills between Brunswick Heads and Lismore on my way to work each day adorning stilettos, but slinking into a couch and hitting the Cocteau Twins into gear is a quick fix for a 103kg male to the wonderful void of femininity. Nostalgic and peacefully- familiar, perhaps if more men in Australia did so they might just treat their partners a little more kindly! In Sydney during the early nineties I played the album ‘Treasure’ to a couple of friends hailing from popular Death Metal bands, and one of them turned to the other and stated with joy… “This is really good!” …as the other long-haired metal merchant nodded approvingly. So don’t be ashamed lads, you too can get in touch with your inner-city bohemian-sonic queen. The Cocteau Twins are a bottle of Shiraz; drifting and coiling incense on a lazy Friday night amongst the shadowplay of candlelight. Now their sound lives on in our very own dark-wonders ‘The Jezabels’. But that’s for another day. Dunk yourself into Milk & Kisses; within any pool of serene Cocteau Twins, you owe yourself such dream-state splendour.

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