10 Songs, 34 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Elizabeth Fraser, Robin Guthrie and Simon Raymonde made this 1988 release less of a creative departure than a consolidation of what they’d accomplished on previous albums, and Blue Bell Knoll can be seen as an appealing sampler of the Cocteaus’ otherworldly aural confections. The atmospheric shadings here range from Caribbean-accented rhythms (“Suckling the Mender”) to acoustic-rock colors (“Ella Megalast Burls Forever”) and mild funk infusions (“Spooning Good Singing Gum”). Specific elements fade into the background once Fraser begins singing in the unknown tongue she favors. Gliding up and down the scales, plunging through syllables of pure transcendent sound, she conveys a state of wonder that’s literally beyond words. The best tracks here (especially “Carolyn’s Fingers”) tingle with heavenly awe; the weakest songs (“Cico Buff”) take their alien-ness for granted and induce drowsiness. Beyond such complacent spots, Blue Bell Knoll is suffused with the sort of peculiar magic that only the Twins can create.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Elizabeth Fraser, Robin Guthrie and Simon Raymonde made this 1988 release less of a creative departure than a consolidation of what they’d accomplished on previous albums, and Blue Bell Knoll can be seen as an appealing sampler of the Cocteaus’ otherworldly aural confections. The atmospheric shadings here range from Caribbean-accented rhythms (“Suckling the Mender”) to acoustic-rock colors (“Ella Megalast Burls Forever”) and mild funk infusions (“Spooning Good Singing Gum”). Specific elements fade into the background once Fraser begins singing in the unknown tongue she favors. Gliding up and down the scales, plunging through syllables of pure transcendent sound, she conveys a state of wonder that’s literally beyond words. The best tracks here (especially “Carolyn’s Fingers”) tingle with heavenly awe; the weakest songs (“Cico Buff”) take their alien-ness for granted and induce drowsiness. Beyond such complacent spots, Blue Bell Knoll is suffused with the sort of peculiar magic that only the Twins can create.

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