Cocteau Twins – Blue Bell Knoll

Release date: 19 September 1988

Label: 4AD

Catalogue No: CAD 807


In October 1988, about a year after starting my first job in Kuala Lumpur, I went down to Victoria Music Sungai Wang and bought this LP. I noticed the record section was getting smaller as compact disc started to overwhelm the small shop.


Whenever there, I usually chit chat with Jaymie (who’s now in Amcorp Mall), the lady boss Jenny, and Keith, the aspiring musician who was knowledgeable about alternative music. Also in attendance was the pair of KEF 105 speakers guarding the front door.


Cocteau Twins were not new to me as I have been following their progress while studying in America. This new release was to be a turning point in their career as they slowly but surely capture a bigger audience for their distinct brand of dream pop/ethereal music.


Starting out in Scotland around the end of the 70s, singer Elizabeth Fraser met Robin Guthrie who played guitar and Will Heggie who played bass. Heggie was replaced by Simon Raymonde in 1983 and things began to change for the group.


Signed to the hip label 4AD, Cocteau Twins released a song that would make all the important music people stand up and take notice. That song was ‘Pearly-Dewdrops Drops’, released in 1984 as an EP and enclosed in a beautiful and mysterious cover.


From there, four more albums (of varying degrees of success) were released and the world stood and watched. However, it was Blue Bell Knoll that finally saw some semblance of breakthrough coming.


The album received major label distribution in the all-important American market through Capitol Records. They followed up with another album named Heaven Or Las Vegas in 1990 and was only slightly better received commercially.


But it was to be their 7thalbum, Four Calendar Café, released in 1993 that was considered more pop-oriented and had wider appeal. Yes, at last, you can actually make out what Liz Fraser was singing about…



Release Date: 18 October 1993

Label: Fontana

Catalogue No: 518 259-2


Over in Asia, Chinese songstress Faye Wong adapted the songs ‘Bluebeard’ and ‘Know Who You Are At Every Age’ in Cantonese and scored big with Canto Pop fans all over the world. Her release, Wu Si Lyun Seung (Random Thoughts) was also featured in Wong Kar-wai’s movie Chungking Express in 1994.


Cocteau Twins would continue to release albums up till their breakup in 1997. Their body of work, immense and enigmatic, would be much celebrated and praised in later years. And the last item of Cocteau Twins I managed to buy from Victoria Music was the beautifully packaged CD (!) compilation of their singles called simply The Box Set.



Release date: 4 November 1991

Label: 4AD

Catalogue No: CT Box 1