Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cocteau Twins - Head Over Heels

Tomorrow (October 31st) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Head Over Heels, the second full-length studio album from the Scottish band the Cocteau Twins. It charted at number 51 on the main UK Album chart and number 1 on the UK Indie Rock chart. A critical favorite, it placed at number 7 on Sounds magazine’s end of the year list for 1983 and in 2003 was named by Mojo magazine one of the most eccentric British album of all time.

At this point, the Twins were now a duo of Elizabeth Fraser (vocals) and Robin Guthrie (guitar, bass and drum machine).

Side one opens with the moody “When Mama Was Moth”. It reminds me a bit of a foreign horror film and ends very suddenly. The group’s EP Sunburst and Snowblind gets its title from this one’s lyrics.

I get the sense of a sickly or sad child from “Five Ten Fiftyfold”. It reminded me of carrying around folded up tissues in my pocket for some reason.

“Sugar Hiccup” features a jangly pop sound to it musically. Lyrically, I am totally lost - I have no clue what a sugar hiccup is supposed to represent. Then there are the pigs - what are they doing there?

“In Our Angelhood” opens with a line about someone “gonna chalk you out”. I instantly think of police marking out a dead body on the ground of a crime scene.

“Glass Candle Grenades” has a very tense rhythm to it as if someone is so close to an enemy, perhaps during warfare.

Side two starts with “In the Gold Dust Rush”, a song about someone very down about their life. She likens what she has to fool’s good, deceptively worthless nuggets of nothingness.

“The Tinderbox (Of a Heart)” is an abstract look at a broken and beaten heart. Was there abuse in the relationship that left it in a mere shell form? The reference to danger leads me to think so. I do like the percussion that opens this one - very dark and ominous.

“Multifoiled” takes another look at heartbreak, though I am a little unclear with the symbolism of being “multi-foiled”.

“My Love Paramour” is next. With only eleven different words in the title, repeated over and over again in a single phrase, you would think I could decipher this one. Well…no…not a clue here.

“Musette and Drums” closes out the record with a piece about song writing and a thirteen year old fan.

This was the first album from the Cocteau Twins that I listened to all the way through. While the music has a nice, dreamy droning to it, I find that the lyrics are a bit to esoteric and incomprehensible for me. Clearly I am not the target audience for this style of music; I never really have been a deep navel-gazer (my pool only runs a few inches deep at best).

No comments: