Cocteau Twins
Garlands


3.5
great

Review

by WilhelmBlack USER (12 Reviews)
November 22nd, 2015 | 33 replies


Release Date: 1982 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The dark and edgy beginning of Cocteau Twins.

The thing about the Cocteau Twins that interests me the most is how much their sound changed in a manner of only two years. "Treasure" was released 1984, often considered their magnum opus along with "Heaven or Las Vegas". The sound of "Garlands" differs almost completely from that of "Treasure". Garlands is much more subdued, darker and mid-tempo than Treasure yet it is by far inferior to Treasure. The sound of Garlands also is post-punk and new-wavish while Treasure is their first true album in which they mastered the dream pop sound that the band is so well-known for. Garlands is not a bad album by no means, it is just different.

Garlands is a post-punk album, this point was brought up in the last paragraph but this noticed right off the bat on the song "Blood Bitch". The sound is subdued and trippy, pretty much the overall sound of the album is like this. However, what can be noticed right away is the Siouxsie and The Banshees influence, a Cure-like sound and beat that reminds me of "Carnage Visors". While it is unfair to say Cocteau Twins ripped off the sound of Siouxsie and The Banshees and The Cure, it is so similar to the sound of both of these bands. The thing is Post-Punk is not a genre known for variation. A lot of bands sound similar to each other, the big four of Proto-Goth (Bauhaus, The Cure, Siouxsie and The Banshees, and Joy Division) all sound rather similar on their first albums. "Blood Bitch" is more of like a subdued down-tempo version of Kaleidoscope era Siouxsie mixed with a hint of The Cure Faith era, sprinkle in some Bauhaus and you have the main influences of "Blood Bitch". "Blood Bitch" is what the album mostly sounds like, the distorted guitars, the programmed drum beats, the Siouxsie influenced Elizabeth Fraser singing in tongues is the only thing that differs this band from the average post-punk band.

Wax and Wane is the most well-known song off of this album, in fact, most fans of Deftones may have heard of this band due to The Deftones doing a cover of this song. The song is more up-tempo compared to that of Blood Bitch or even the rest of the album (one of the main flaws of this album). The lotus-like sound of the catchy guitar line in the song, the catchy chorus in the song, everything is catchy about this song. The guitar line is reminiscent of that of "Spellbound" from Siouxsie and The Banshees off of their album "Juju". The most poppy song off of this post-punk album is Wax and Wane compared to the hit or miss of the second side of Garlands. If anything, Wax and Wane is the reason to even buy this album.

The main problem with this album is variation of the sound. The album sounds rather monotonous but that is the main issue with the post-punk genre in general. This is the main problem with "Shallow Then Halo", it is a more menacing song compared to the lackluster "But I'm Not", but it sounds dry compared to the more menacing and melancholic releases by other archetypal post-punk bands. The audio production for this album is actually loud compared to most post-punk bands but this is also its own weakness. The music production of this album is too polished for the genre in which this album is considered to be. Punk and post-punk albums tend to have a more unpolished and lo-fi like sound compared to the polished and dry sound that Garlands. This contributes to some of the songs sounding rather monotonous and boring at times. That is the main problem with this album.

Overall, besides a few issues with audio production and monotonous beats and sounds, this is a solid album and I recommend it to anyone who likes Dream Pop, Shoegazer Rock, and Post-Punk/Gothic music.



Recent reviews by this author
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user ratings (110)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
WilhelmBlack
November 21st 2015


599 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It is honestly hard to describe Garlands multiple times without getting repetitive, I feel like that is the main flaw of trying to review post-punk in general.

MusicMan323
November 21st 2015


9 Comments


You were right with Garlands being a hard album to describe the sound without getting repetitive. I never did notice the Spellbound like sound of the guitar line in Wax and Wane. I am glad that there is finally a review for this album. You should review the Cocteau Twins discography.

WilhelmBlack
November 21st 2015


599 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks for at least understanding. I really am not a fan of reviewing full discographies of bands unless there are no reviews for those albums at all. I did that in the case of The Sisters of Mercy not having reviews for their classic albums that I was satisfied with. However, Vision Thing sucked so I really can't say it was a classic. I hope you understand my scatterbrain writing in this comment.

AnimalsAsSummit
November 21st 2015


2283 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"post-punk is not a genre known for variation"



looooooooooool good one

Digging: Candiria - Process of Self-Development

WilhelmBlack
November 21st 2015


599 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Standard post-punk has no real variation. I take it you neg'ed this...

Deadsouls96
November 21st 2015


32 Comments


"looooooooooool good one", no need to be a dick to another member on this site. Post-punk is notoriously known for being monotonous.

WilhelmBlack
November 21st 2015


599 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Whoa, relax Dead, it was just a troll-remark. I am a big boy...

WilhelmBlack
November 21st 2015


599 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

IF anything, I am deleting this review and redoing it. I am not completely satisfied with it.

Deadsouls96
November 21st 2015


32 Comments


Why dude? This is a good review in my eyes. Maybe add a sentence or two and it will be great. Fuck the dude that gave you a negative. They don't know anything about Cocteau Twins or post-punk.

WilhelmBlack
November 21st 2015


599 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Okay, if you think so.

AnimalsAsSummit
November 21st 2015


2283 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"i take it you neg'd this"



no

WilhelmBlack
November 21st 2015


599 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks for at least not doing so. This is my first review in a while and to be honest I rushed this and I am still looking at what to edit.

AnimalsAsSummit
November 21st 2015


2283 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I just didn't agree with post punk being repetitious at all; review is a gud one

WilhelmBlack
November 21st 2015


599 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It is to a certain extent, like the actual foundation of post-punk is simple because it comes from punk rock but is supposed to controlled experimentalism.

AnimalsAsSummit
November 21st 2015


2283 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i guess I'd agree that it is to an extent, but most genres are. i can defs see why you say its repetitive, but no more than anything else. of course, tis mere opinion. ive heard post punk bands that might as well be free jazz and jazz acts so tight they might as well be straight up rock; all im saying. anyways, i think you should keep the review as is if you want, your thoughts are well conveyed here

WilhelmBlack
November 22nd 2015


599 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well then who was the asshole who neg'd it? Probably a hater? I get what you are saying Animal. My favorite bands are the proto-goth big four. Like I consider their first albums to be simple compared to their second album except for in the case of Bauhaus. I know post punk bands that do jazz as well but I would not call them post-punk.

ZombicidalMan
November 22nd 2015


2475 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this was on my list to review, but now you did it. so that's good

WilhelmBlack
November 22nd 2015


599 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I take it you liked it because you pos'd it. I do not know who neg'd it but it is probably the same dude that did it to my last four or five reviews. If anything, you should review Head Over Heels.

AnimalsAsSummit
November 23rd 2015


2283 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Head Over Heels = best Cocteau Twins (imho)

Dis_Con_Nec_Ted
November 23rd 2015


4832 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

^ I have to agree with that. In a way it combines the dark quality of this, the dreaminess of Treasure and the catchy splendor of HoLV all in one. Explains why it's my most listened to album of theirs.

Digging: Madonna - Ray of Light



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