[1984] Cocteau Twins - Treasure



Somewhat of a heavily-plucked bassline accompanies the levitational fade-in of an acoustic guitar, with a bewitching soprano voice intoning ""Pink-bow, peach-blown/ Pandore/Pompadour/ Pee-Wee/ He's Sweet/ A symphony" before escalating into the gradual build-up from crescendo to ambience and back again that is the rest of "Ivo", the first track on "Treasure", perhaps the finest of the Cocteau Twin's CD's, and easily my favorite.
Though this title was re-released in 1991, the original version was released in late 1984, when I was a highly impressionable senior in high school. I live in the United States, and it was very difficult at this time to come across anything released on import. Nevertheless, an independent radio station was able to snag a copy, and I began the process of getting exposed to several of the more popular tracks on "Treasure", including "Beatrix", "Persephone", "Amelia", "Aloysius", and "Donimo", a track that built patiently and organically in a sprawling, accretive manner to its sustained sense of explosiveness during the climax of that track.
Listening to this CD with the benefit of hindsight (and every other Cocteau Twins full-length release in my collection), it's fully evident that Robin Guthrie had been able to make a conscious (and ultimately positive) choice to excise the gothic roots so prominently on display on their first release ("Garlands") and the traces leftover on their second ("Head Over Heels". Although he could not jettison the ubiquitous drum machine, Simon Raymonde's warm bassline, together with Guthrie's somewhat heavily processed effects channeling his guitar-work into a densely-layered mosaic of otherwordly sound, provided the perfect template for Elizabeth Fraser's swooping, seven-octave soprano range, expressed in its full level of mature control here, and her almost universally indecipherable, glossolaliac lyrics (on "Pandora", I swear I hear a vocal refrain of "Peanut butter/peanut butter/peanut butter" ) serve as an almost instrumental refrain.
Sometimes driven by a ghostly ambience ("Otterly") , by a sense of buoyancy almost levitational in quality ("Aloysius"), or a languid, slipstreamed layer of instrumentation ("Pandora"), "Treasure" remains one of the most remarkably cohesive recordings that the Cocteau Twins have ever recorded, and for me, it's their masterpiece.


Genre: Dream Pop, Post-Punk, Alternative Rock
Quality: FLAC

Bliss


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