Listening back to the early Cocteau Twins, and especially their debut LP Garlands (1982), I am surprised that they were not embraced more heavily by Goths. Garlands shares many sonic similaries with Pornography – without doubt the Cure’s finest hour (and yep, I do mean even better than Disintegration) – yet they were never seen as Goth. Maybe Liz Fraser wore one too many cardigans.
Anyway, a good article on Garlands (and its satellite releases) has been published on the excellent Plunder the Tombs blog, and it includes videos for every track on the LP (and some Peel sessions).
Although, much of their material is very beautiful indeed, those only familiar with The Cocteau Twins later work, by which time they’d evolved into what eventually became known as Dream Pop, may well find them difficult to reconcile with anything particularly post-punkish. As with so many other groups, the answer of course requires a trip back to their earlier releases.
Scotland seems not to have produced too many Goth acts back in the day, in fact the only other obvious example that comes to mind is Twisted Nerve with whom Cocteau Twins have approximately nothing in common. None of this however would stop Cocteau Twins come swirling out of Grangemouth in 1979 with a near-ambient sound that was quite new to any territory post-punk had previously ventured into. It would be a good three years before their debut album, Garlands would emerge, but when it did, what a beast it was.
Dark. Ambient. Trippy. Dominated by Elizabeth’s haunting vocals that would often just go off doing their own thing, often venturing into lands of glossolalia and neologism. Although “Blood Bitch”, “Wax and Wane” and “But I’m Not” all make an immediate impact on the listener, the entire album is universally engaging, so it seems curious that there were no singles released. Never fear though! Although there may be no official video clips, a rather talented Youtube denizen known as Shum65 has put together a large number of very well made amateur clips whose style suits the Cocteaus perfectly and which we present here to all young boys and girls by way of illustration.