Album of the Week – Cocteau Twins: Heaven or Las Vegas

Shimmering guitars, echo-y vocals singing other worldly lyrics with haunting harmonies, Heaven Or Las VegasCocteau Twins’ 1990 release is on constant rotation on my home-friendly play lists. Elizabeth Fraser wrote many of the songs about her newborn daughter so it’s not an accident that the album has a bright and dreamy sensibility. The album is the group’s most most accessible of their career and the most successful – topping out at #7 on the British charts. While their earlier works – such as Treasure or Garlands are more goth than pop – Heaven of Las Vegas has less dark and ominous sounds with layers of rich and lush melodies layed down by guitarist Robin Guthrie. It’s hard to believe that the album is nearly 20 years old yet it still feels fresh and new. Heaven-Or-Las-Vegas-(Remastered)-by-Cocteau-Twins_Vn6c6zhBjagx_full

What draws my son to the songs besides the evocative music are the unintelligible lyrics (a trademark of the Twins musical style) which encourages him to decipher what is being sung. Conversations about what a particular line means is an exercise in imaginative interpretation.  I love the fact that he can now pick out a Twin’s song on his own (even ones not from HOLV).

Fotzepolitic and the title track are sublime with soaring sweeps of sound and driving rhythms – while Wolf in the Breast and Pitch the Baby are highly melodic songs with the signature evocative yet mysterious lyrics. My favorite – Cherry-Coloured Funk is a lazy, hazy and beautiful track that takes me on a ride every time I hear it.

Cherry-Coloured Funk


Heaven or Las Vegas

Wolf in the Breast

Pitch the Baby