More people seem familiar with later work from Cocteau Twins but their debut album Garlands is still beautiful.
Having just turned forty, I thought this record was worth a reappraisal. Featuring the original lineup of Liz Fraser, Robin Guthrie and Will Heggie, the original sound was dark, dense and as tight as a boa constrictor.
Absolutely minimal, with spiralling guitar from Guthrie, doomy bass by Heggie and Fraser’s unique, trilling vocals, the lyrics spoke to nightmare visions of death, devils and discomfort.
This forever sealed their reputation as goths, something they were arguably keen to lose later for fear of being pigeonholed and restricted, but tracks like Wax and Wane, Grail Overfloeth and the title track still hold up, music which paved the way for goth, shoegazing and dreampop.
Because it was so unearthly, it still sounds startling today. Cocteau Twins were never part of any trend and never would be, which is why they have endured. It’s not an easy ride, but the best art often isn’t, revealing more layers with every listen .