On September 1st, 1982, Grangemouth Scotland’s Cocteau Twins released their debut album Garlands on 4AD Records. This was the first release since the band’s formation in 1979, after guitarist Robin Guthrie, and Bassist Will Heggie saw Elizabeth dancing at a local disco called Nash.
As legend goes, the two of them reasoned that if Fraser could sing as well as she could dance, she would be perfect for joining their band…
Garlands is the only Cocteau Twin’s album to feature original bassist Heggie, who would later go on to form the Scottish dreampop band Lowlife from the ashes of “Psychobilly” group Dead Neighbors. Gordon Sharp of Cindytalk is also included on the 1983 Peel Sessions tracks that are included on cassette versions of the original release, providing backup vocals on the non album tracks “Dear Heart”, “Hearsay Please”, and “Hazel”. Sharp, or Cinder as s/he is known now, is also featured alongside Elizabeth Fraser and Robin Guthrie on the 4AD collaborative project This Mortal Coil’s first LP It’ll End In Tears, providing vocals on the cover tracks Fond Affections and Kangaroo.
Above, watch the Cocteau Twins perform tracks from Garlands on the ‘Whatever You Want’ UK TV program, which was Broadcasted on November 8th 1982.
Earlier in 1982 Legendary Radio DJ John Peel championed the Cocteau Twins by featuring them on on their first Peel Session which was recorded on June 21st, 1982, and broadcast on July 15th.
The tracklisting for that session was: Wax And Wane, Garlands, Alas Dies Laughing, and Feathers-Oar-Blades.
JW: … You prefer them to say, “This has come out of nowhere almost.” Surely the band in the post-punk period that as much as anybody did that – and became a great favourite with you – was the Cocteaus, who were clearly not a punk noise at all. They were a beautiful music noise.
JP: Yes, well, not so much initially. I mean, when they first appeared, I’ve got an acetate somewhere at home and an early demo tape, and everybody just said, “Of course, well, this is another kind of Siouxsie & The Banshees really.” I must admit, that always struck me as a bit of a nonsense, I must admit. I mean, just the fact that there were two women singers with fairly strong and identifiable voices didn’t I think make the Cocteaus Siouxsie & The Banshees clones by any means.
JW: I’m not really aware of the early stuff that you must have heard at the time. Was it not this kind of swirly-whirly kind of spacey stuff that we’ve got used to?
JP: It was pretty swirly-whirly. I mean, some of the early things sounded like they might have been produced by some kind of post-punk Phil Spector, you know. They were very kind of Wall of Sound-ish.
JW: Yeah, cathedral swoopings.
JP: Cathedral Swoopers – what an excellent name for a band! There’ll be one on the streets next week. (Plays ‘Musette And Drums’.)
JW: Can you say then, apart from the cathedral swoopings, what was it then? Because that did strike very much of a chord with you, didn’t it?
JP: Well, again it was just because – I mean, I preferred them then to now. I preferred them when they Elizabeth was still singing identifiable words. And I suppose once again the big attraction was that it was such an extraordinary voice. I mean, people would have said, people might have said that it was a very mannered voice. If it was mannered, then I’m perfectly happy for it to have been so. I just liked the noise of her voice, in the same way that I liked the voice of Marc Bolan and Roger Chapman with Family and Captain Beefheart and all of those other people. It’s just a strong and identifiable voice.