Cocteau Twins: Elizabeth Fraser (vocals); Robin Guthrie (guitar); Simon Raymonde (bass).
After the airiness of VICTORIALAND, BLUE BELL KNOLL, the Cocteau Twins' fifth album, returns them to the swirling ethereality of earlier collections. Anchoring the interplay of Elizabeth Fraser's vocals and Robin Guthrie's effects-treated guitars with drum machine patterns and stronger bass lines makes for somewhat more traditional songs, and also frees them--"Suckling the Mender" even has room for two glittering guitar solos.
Standout tracks include "Carolyn's Fingers," featuring Elizabeth Fraser's voice pining and sweeping over a shuffling beat, the slow-paced "For Phoebe Still a Baby," dedicated to Fraser's unborn child, that adds a xylophone in the mix, and "Spooning Good Singing Gum," bedecked with Guthrie's echoing, multi-tracked guitars. As good as these cuts are, however, the best of the bunch are the album's last two tracks, "A Kissed Out Red Floatboat," and "Ella Megalast Burls Forever." Alone, either would justify the price of admission, but together they make this, out of many great Cocteau Twins albums, one of the best.