An interesting album with weird melodies accompanying a unique voice, Heaven or Las Vegas (1990) by the Cocteau Twins represents a lot of variety to me. I can feel inspiration from the 80s style of new wave and electronic music combined with a desire to make something new and fresh. Cocteau Twins accomplishes that with this album. As I write this, and make my third full listen-through, more parts of each song become apparent. At first it is hard to get passed the leader singer’s vocals. It is quite a catching voice, although many times incoherent. However, having grown accustomed to her voice, I notice a lot of things going on behind her. The music is just as catching as the voice, it just went unnoticed by me at first. For example, during the track “Road, River, and Rail,” there is a steady beat that is played along side many odd sounds that I, honestly, cannot tell from what instrument they derive. But that’s ok, it does not make the song any less enjoyable.
As a whole, this album has a mellow feel. There is not any song that I can think of that has a fast or invigorating feel. It gives the album a consistency, possibly a theme. To start the album is the track, “Cherry-coloured Funk.” The opening guitar riff and drum set the mood for the rest of the album. It is played steadily and casually, as if there is no hurry at all in singing or making this song. There is no rush to these songs. Every one of them plays like they feel they should. There is no need for a fast paced song on this album. Once you start listening to the album, it just plays for about 40 minutes, and then it’s over. And everything is neat. I do not know any actual details of the production of this album, but when I listen to it, I can imagine all the band members just casually playing their parts. No need to hasten anything, no deadlines, everyone just plays. Once again, this could be completely opposite of the production process for Heaven or Las Vegas, but you do not get that feel.
I have no outstanding tracks for this album because I feel the need to listen to it as a whole. Unlike when listening to previous albums, I’d get the urge to skip around after the first run through. Heaven or Las Vegas calls for a complete listen. So, I recommend you take about 40 minutes out of a day and do just that. Put it on, and just relax while the melody slowly drives forward. Trust me, you won’t even notice the time.
Next Week: Doves – Lost Souls