Review Summary: Treasure lives up to it’s title by being an incredibly precious piece of art.
Cocteau Twins guitarist Robin Guthrie referred to Treasure as “an abortion” and bass player Simon Raymonde felt it was an unfinished and rushed album. It is easy to assume that when most members of a band despise their own album, it’s fairly safe to say that it will be a terrible listen. Despite this, the ethereal wave masterpiece, Treasure, completely defies this logic by being highly conceptual, fluid, and most importantly incredibly gorgeous. The type of gorgeous that brings five dollar words like bewitching and pulchritudinous to mind. It’s such a solid album that it brings up the question: “What were Guthrie an Raymonde thinking?”
Atmospherically, the album is frigid like the first morning after a snowstorm in December. The kind of snowfall that where it’s bright and sunny out, yet still below 0°C. The kind where the kids get off from school so they can have snowball fights and make snow angels. Playful acoustic guitar, soothing electric guitar and bass, shimmering bells, and lightly mixed drums all serve to aid Elizabeth Fraser’s vocalis as she takes you off into another world.
Fraser’s elegant cheery vocals could be likened to a brisk wind current, there to remind you of the album’s temperature. Occasionally her vocals are a bit harsher, but because when this occurs her heavy Scottish brogue is accentuated, her performance in these moments are somehow even more beautiful. This brogue is particularly prominent in highlight “Pandora” where she switches between it and her typical high pitched warbling. Lyrically, the album is completely meaningless, but this actually serves as a strength. In a way it persuades the listener to focus on the sound of her voice rather than what she has to say. Lyrics such as: “Every week, move is small. When he cared, when he did love. When he knew, when he'd fall. I hear she'd fall, ha, she fell. Hear she'd fall, ha, she fell” from “Beatrix” focuses far more on how the syllable of each word sounds together than any actual meaning –adding to the the overall beauty of her voice.
Every song on the album takes its name after an actual human first name –some of which that are archaic in nature (such as Aloysius and Persephone.) This gives the album an overall personal feeling, as if each song was written for someone in specific (two of which definitely were since “Pandora” is sometimes listed as “Pandora (For Cindy)” and “Ivo” has been confirmed to be written for 4AD producer Ivo Watts-Russell.) Treasure is an excellent example of how truly beautiful ethereal wave can be and I wholeheartedly treasure it.
Album highlights: “Ivo”, “Lorelei”, “Pandora”, ”Amelia”