Picks and Pans Review: The Pink Opaque

updated 03/17/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/17/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

Cocteau Twins

Sometimes enjoying a good record takes a little work. During the first spin around the turntable, this U.S. introduction to the British band the Cocteau Twins sounds a bit monotonous. But listen a few times and the 10 songs, all originals, take on subtly different sounds, evoking an ethereal beauty rarely heard from rock bands. On Hitherto, lead singer Elizabeth Frazer reflects the power of Blondie's Deborah Harry, while on other tracks she comes on as spacey as Kate Bush. The restrained guitar work, which provides more rhythm than melody, modulates between an eerie Oriental sound and a harder-hitting rock style. The best of the songs, gathered from three years of the group's British releases, is Pearly Dewdrops' Drops. A plaintive, reverberating tune, it was a big hit in London and shows Frazer's talent for caressing the sounds of simple words; she somehow transforms English into a series of seemingly unrelated, sweet-sounding syllables. Frazer, lead guitarist Robin Guthrie and bass player Simon Raymonde misnamed their trio in the tradition of another British threesome, the Thompson Twins. But the bands share little else. Compared with the simple pop style of the Thompsons, the Cocteaus sound like arty background music. Still their music can get stuck in your head as much as any pop rock around, and it's enjoyably enigmatic and rewarding. (Relativity)

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