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Cocteau Twins
Snow EP
(Fontana UK)


This rarity is a fun little single. This limited edition record was released in the UK only, and is a hard to find treat (one expert tells me that there were under 5,000 copies made.) Can't you just imagine the Cocteau Twins playing these Christmas tunes? Just thinking about Elizabeth Fraser singing these classic tunes just sends chills up your spine. Well, let me tell you, this EP sounds exactly like you think it would. Those swirling guitars and layers and Fraser's voice playing around the words; you can't ask for much more.

Both of the tunes take the basic structure of the carols and leaves them pretty much intact. The playfulness of these tunes is not in the re-arrangement of the tunes; it's in the interpretation of the material. Give them the Robin Guthrie treatment and they will never be the same again. When "Winter Wonderland" opens, it sounds like any sort of Cocteau Twins tune. You get the swirling lead line and Simon Raymonde's slinky bass. Guthrie then uses the keyboard to five that jaunty sound. Then there's that percussion; it's not overbearing and over "jingley." For one of the few times on record, we actually hear Fraser sing "words." Her sweet and airy delivery wraps itself around the words and carries them up into the snowy sky. Eat your heart out Santa, they can fly just as far and high with this tune (especially when the acoustic guitar solo takes over.) The epic tale of Frosty is given the other end of the Cocteau's spectrum. This one is of the harder school of thought for the band. The drum tracks are heavier and far more driving. Raymonde's bass gives us the heavier more attack worthy treatment. The guitar and its ever present echo pattern fills out the rest of the spectrum, leaving only small spaces for keyboard. The subdued jingle is here as well. Fraser also sings with more force, at times she reverts into her phrasing instead of singing the words exclusively. Maybe she forgot the words, maybe it was intended, none the less, it doesn't take away from the tune (you know the damn words anyways, right.) This single is exactly what you thought you'd get. Look high and low to find it, it's rare, but it's sure to bring you joy during each holiday season.

-tom topkoff

Track Listing:

1. Winter Wonderland
2. Frosty The Snowman


Mike Doughty



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