Victorialand (studio album) by Cocteau Twins
Condition: Very Good
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Cocteau Twins bestography
The best album by Cocteau Twins is Heaven Or Las Vegas which is ranked number 175 in the list of all-time albums with a total rank score of 9,691.
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Victorialand track list
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This album is rated in the top 3% of all albums on BestEverAlbums.com. This album has a Bayesian average rating of 77.5/100, a mean average of 77.0/100, and a trimmed mean (excluding outliers) of 77.8/100. The standard deviation for this album is 13.4.
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I can't tell if I like it more without the drums
I love user Tilly's review here (winter thaws...), thanks. Agreed, in a sense winter thaws here after the icy youthful edgy rage so present in Garlands, Head Over Heels, and some parts of Treasure. Here on Victorialand the emotional scape and maturity is warmer, like a metaphorical pregnancy transition announcing the full-bloomed hormones of Love's Easy Tears and then maternal aspect starting in Blue Bell Knoll. Yet the mood (to me) here on V always did seem wintry and cool of temperature and timbre. Victoria Land is the name of a region of Antarctica, explaining why April and May would be darker months, the feet-like fins of penguins, thin air, whales, and blush of snow.
So both warmer and yet wintry. Ah the intriguing mystery of a paradox, like lyrics in a language you can't understand but can immediately relate to emotionally with instinctive clarity. There is indeed an aspect of inversion around this whole record, not just in flipping hemispheres to Antarctica, but in the music and voice, the fact (if I recall correctly!) that Robin played acoustic guitar exclusively here unlike electric guitar found on all other albums/EPs (ok well not Twinlights for obvious reasons), and invertedly curious that they kept band name Cocteau Twins here when subtracting band member Simon, and eschewed it 7 months later when they added musician Harold Budd for The Moon and the Melodies.
The only English I could ever hear here on V was in Lazy Calm, which opens "Time to look we've lost the voice..." and next line "fantasy is real (?but I hear you're...)"
Happy listening, you might want to pack the sunscreen, wetsuit, and parka just in case.
Something happened. What is not clear. But something happened in between Treasure and Victorialand. Some of my sources (& I have many) tell me that Guthrie & Frasier rekindled their love. Others tell me that bassist Simon Raymonde, who was absent for this session & not missed in the slightest, is simply a mega downer. But whatever the cause, whatever the reason, their is a warmth to this album that was not present on their three previous releases. The iciness that used to cover their songs like the morning frost is gone. Winter has thawed and the pearly dewdrops of a new spring shimmer & bask in the rays of the early rising Summer sun. It’s like the black & white world that dominated Cocteau Twins world for so long has been colored in with a super deluxe Crayola crayon set. A softness and gentleness is present. Instead of a cold shoulder, we are given a warm, much needed hug.
Whereas on Treasure, Fraser sounded in pain. Tormented. Like she was exorcising some demons deep inside her. Here, those demons are long gone. Newly saved by the Lord, she’s turned into a loving Pentecostal preacher. A channeler. Taken over by the Holy Spirit and singing in tongues. She is not in control. She is simply a conduit letting the higher forces of goodness work their magic through her. Delivering holy radiance to the masses to heal us. Save us. To let us know that the universe is a divine and wondrous place. That the Gods still exists and are taking care of us. She’s certainly not speaking in English or any other language decipherable by mere human ears. No, she speaks in an ancient tongue long forgotten. A remnant from when the Gods still roamed the the Earth and mated with mortals. And perhaps that was what actually happened. For if any mortal could lure one of the Gods back down to earth for a toss in the hay with just her voice, it is certainly Elizabeth.
Grade: A+. It’s funny. Back in my teens and twenties this was (by far) my least favorite Cocteau Twins album. (Well, except for Four Calendar Cafe which I don’t even count and quickly gave to my Mom. What can I say. My Mom loves Enya. Give her a break. She’s a Mom.) Anyways, back then I loved the dark goth of their early albums and the shoe gaze wonders of Heaven or Las Vegas, but I could never quite get into Victorialand. It was too mellow. Too “nice”. It was missing the bleak drum machine and bass lines that belted out on their early releases. I wanted to be consumed by their dark power. Now, I have embraced the light. The warmth. The sunshine. And you know what? Warmth & sunshine suits them. And this is unquestionably their best. The fullest fruition & distillation of the magic of their inimitable sound. And my chart gives it a big warm hug and channels it all the way to number four.
Interesting music, but its spareness seems to be lacking in real substance. Still very pretty though.
Excellent, no bass, no drums but the Cocteau's at their best all the same.
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