Cocteau Twins: Elizabeth Fraser (vocals); Robin Guthrie (guitar); Simon Raymonde (bass).
The Cocteau Twins released their second album, 1983's HEAD OVER HEELS, following their first bass player's departure, and came close to reinventing themselves. Songs like "Sugar Hiccup" and the brilliantly named "Glass Candle Grenades," with their swooping vocals, clattering percussion, and vibrant guitars, go a long way to lightening the downbeat mood cast on the band's previous album. (Collectors should note that early versions of the CD included all four tracks from the band's 1984 EP, SUNBURST AND SNOWBLIND.)
Standouts include "The Tinderbox (of a Heart)," which is fleshed out with synthesized orchestral strings and multilayered vocal tracks; the strange, barreling, music-hall quality of "Multifoiled"; and the crunching, heavily echoed "Musette and Drums," which features Elizabeth Fraser's vocals at both their most commanding and most elusive. Arguably the best track is the spectacular "In the Gold Dust Rush," which highlights Robin Guthrie's multiple guitar effects to create an enveloping cocoon, broken only by shards of distortion. The underlying combination of basic song structures, ethereal vocals, and effects make HEAD OVER HEELS probably the best place to start investigating the Cocteau Twins' unique sound.