Cocteau Twins

Victorialand/Treasure

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

The early batch of Cocteau Twins CDs made up for the brevity of the original vinyl releases (Victorialand is barely a half-hour long) by teaming them up, leading to releases like this, which combines the Cocteau Twins' two best albums on one handy disc. The disparity between the records is a bit odd at first; 1984's Treasure is the Cocteau Twins' most impenetrably atmospheric album and the pinnacle of their early sound, mixing dense delay and reverb effects with swirling melodies and utterly incomprehensible vocals sung in Elizabeth Fraser's unique idioglossia, a mysterious made-up language somewhere between Gaelic and gibberish, with a few English words placed here and there just to tease listeners into trying to decipher more. 1986's Victorialand is entirely different, a duo album by Fraser and guitarist Robin Guthrie recorded almost entirely without bass, drums, or indeed much beyond Fraser's voice and Guthrie's acoustic guitar and piano. (Richard Thomas of Dif Juz adds saxophone and tabla filigrees to a few tracks.) Stripped of the thickness of the earlier records, Guthrie and Fraser create the most ethereal and brightest music of their career, with the lilting "Fluffy Tufts" the sunny highlight.