A Deeper Look: Heaven or Las Vegas and the Cocteau Twins

Formed in 1979, Scottish dream pop band Cocteau Twins has stunned audiences with their shoegazer, ethereal wave takeover on radio stations across the world.
Signing onto to the newly formed 4AD Records in 1982, the Cocteau Twins were met with a roster of bands that captured that same dreamscape sound that struck the United Kingdom with awe. Despite the name, the Cocteau Twins are not actually

Despite the name, the Cocteau Twins are not actually twins, but made up of guitarist Robin Gurthie, studio bassist Will Heggie, multi-instrumentalist Simon Raymonde, and vocalist Elizabeth Fraser. Although the band highlighted their sound with neo-psychedelia-stylized-atmospheric-texture of melody, it was Elizabeth Fraser who gave the Cocteau Twins their popularity.Described as “the voice of God,” Fraser’s vocal range of soprano C3-D6 (3 octaves plus 1 note) is one of the greatest ranges a singer has ever reached. Elizabeth Fraser’s voice was characterized

Described as “the voice of God,” Fraser’s vocal range of soprano C3-D6 (3 octaves plus 1 note) is one of the greatest ranges a singer has ever reached. Elizabeth Fraser’s voice was characterized with her use of glossolalia, an incomprehensible form of English, or gibberish, and sometimes mistakenly used xenolalia, unknowingly speaking a foreign language, with reference to her native tongue, “puirt a buel mouth music,” a Scottish form of song. The Cocteau Twins were also noted for their use of gothic-esque clothing and makeup, a look that influenced many punk and rock bands to come. After rising to fame on the European continent and altering the name of alternative music across the world, the Cocteau Twins strayed away from the 4AD label, and joined recording juggernaut Capitol Records in 1988, giving them mainstream success. On September 11, 1990, the band released Heaven or Las Vegas, the

After rising to fame on the European continent and altering the name of alternative music across the world, the Cocteau Twins strayed away from the 4AD label, and joined recording juggernaut Capitol Records in 1988, giving them mainstream success. On September 11, 1990, the band released Heaven or Las Vegas, the best selling album in the United Kingdom at the time. Even though the Cocteau Twins had released many EP’s and albums before, this release, it was Heaven or Las Vegas that solidified the sound and maturity of this pivotal group. Despite tremendous success, the Cocteau Twins broke up in 1997 due to lingering problems that worsened with each album and tour that ensued over time. Elizabeth Fraser suffered from severe mental problems which limited the band’s studio time and touring schedule.

Despite tremendous success, the Cocteau Twins broke up in 1997 due to lingering problems that worsened with each album and tour that ensued over time. Elizabeth Fraser suffered from severe mental problems which limited the band’s studio time and touring schedule. Her mental psychosis is linked to her speaking in gibberish and accidentally singing different languages, while the lyrics that were

Her mental psychosis is linked to her speaking in gibberish and accidentally singing different languages, while the lyrics that were real had no particular meaning, for the most part, other than a sign of derangement. Robin Gurthie, the guitarist, had a terrible drug and alcohol addiction that hindered the band’s live experience, and required Simon Raymonde to record all guitars and percussion during studio sessions. Without regard to their failing health, Gurthie and Fraser had a long-term, intimate relationship where they even had a daughter, Lucy-Belle. The mixture of a daughter, mental suffering, drug addiction, and a talent to write and compose songs, creates the perfect formula for Heaven or Las Vegas. Recorded by only two of the members, Fraser and Raymonde, Heaven or Las Vegas features the most complex production for an album in history as it used masterful guitar and synth layering first tested by fellow British rock group, Queen, for the album, A Night at the Opera.

The mixture of a daughter, mental suffering, drug addiction, and a talent to write and compose songs, creates the perfect formula for Heaven or Las Vegas. Recorded by only two of the members, Fraser and Raymonde, Heaven or Las Vegas features the most complex production for an album in history as it used masterful guitar and synth layering first tested by fellow British rock group, Queen, for the album, A Night at the Opera.

While Elizabeth Fraser still portrayed her version of xenolalia and glossolalia in her singing and lyrics, Heaven or Las Vegas showcases Fraser at her best with deep lyrics and hypnotic polyrhythmic vocal melodies that haunt the listener’s ears. However, what made Heaven or Las Vegas so good and critically well received where it is considered one of the best albums of all time? It was not the fact that the Cocteau Twins suddenly became more consciously aware of their musical abilities, nor did they receive extra help for this effort, or were their previous albums bad. It was a matter of time.

However, what made Heaven or Las Vegas so good and critically well received where it is considered one of the best albums of all time? It was not the fact that the Cocteau Twins suddenly became more consciously aware of their musical abilities, nor did they receive extra help for this effort, or were their previous albums bad. It was a matter of time.
The Cocteau Twins could not have made this album at the beginning of their career because they were too young and experienced, and they could not have made the album at the end of the bands duration as they would not have the motivation and will to create such an album. Heaven or Las Vegas is also not

Heaven or Las Vegas is also not masterpiece because they tried to make a perfect album as, if you did try to make a perfect album, it would be too forced. It was a masterpiece because of the natural evolution of music and the course of the band members lives that caused the development of this album; the time when Fraser was at her best mentally and Simon Raymonde was at his pinnacle in terms of influence, the world received Heaven or Las Vegas.

– Colt Pierce

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s