April 24: Cocteau Twins, Wire, XTC

1001 Albums You Must Hear, Jo Bevan Special. (This was largely accidental, I did however deliberately pick a third once I realised I had a theme)

Cocteau Twins, ‘Treasure’.

The Twins’ output is equal parts blissed-out cloud-kissing and gloomy dirge, both parts compounded by the incomprehensible/wordless vocals. The band’s first two albums were Banshees-esque shoegaze-o-goth; here we find the band transitioning away from the unnerving valleys of ‘Head Over Heels’ and towards the sunkissed alps of ‘Blue Bell Knoll’, without really being as good as either. Early track ‘Lorelei’ is the highlight.

XTC, ‘Skylarking’.

English folk-pop as produced by Todd Rundgren, this unlikely alliance reaches a compromise as Damn Fine Pop Record. The tracklisting on this seems to change on every release; I listened to what must be the 2001 reissue as it ended with standout/tacked-on-later-B-side ‘Dear God’.

Wire, ‘Pink Flag’.

Wire were not interested in wasting any time or leaving anything for later, rattling off 21 tracks in barely 40 minutes on their debut album. The frantic energy and variety make it obvious why so many plagiarists had their notebooks out; for the 2016 listener there’s some retroactive comedy when listening to ‘Three Girl Rhumba’, stolen note-for-note by famous cuckoos Elastica and renamed ‘Connection’.

More later and until the end of time. Whose record collection will I listen to next? YOURS? TUNE IN NEXT TIME TO FIND OUT!!


Author: JT Wilson

Listening to all of the albums in the '1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die' book (2006 edition).

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