Cocteau Twins

Tiny Dynamine/Echoes in a Shallow Bay

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Originally, Tiny Dynamine and Echoes in a Shallow Bay were released as a pair of EPs in similar covers within a few months of each other in 1985; the songs were actually recorded during the same sessions, but the band wished to release them without the hoopla of a full album. This was probably a wise decision, as listening to the two EPs together on one CD, it's clear that these eight songs are a step down in quality from the inspired heights of Head Over Heels and Treasure. There's not much difference in sound between songs like "Pink Orange Red" and earlier gems like "Five Ten Fiftyfold," but there's a certain ethereal quality lacking in these recordings, a tiredness that suggests the Cocteau Twins had taken their early sound as far as they could go. (Unsurprisingly, their next release, 1986's Victorialand, was a complete departure.) That said, the Cocteau Twins' early sound was amazingly cool, and although they're lacking in invention, the thick atmospherics and swirling vocal melodies of their earlier records are here in spades. As background music, Tiny Dynamine/Echoes in a Shallow Bay works a treat; it's only when one pays closer attention that the disappointment sets in.

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