Heaven Or Las Vegas
REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/13/2005
Cocteau Twins' music is not something that is instantly appealing. Considering how beautiful and amicable their music is, it is only paradoxical that the concept of "Love at First Sight" doesn't work with their style. Their music uncannily and slowly seeps into the listener, and all of a sudden, as if hit by serendipity, just when the listener is peeved with how each song sounds so much like the other, one starts wondering why in the world didn't one fall in love with the album the very first time one's ears met with the unusually and irresistibly lovable sound of this hard-to-love but difficult-to-forget band.
Heaven Or Las Vegas is a perfect example of the typical nature of the Twins' sound. Though it seems pleasing to the ears, it does have the listener penuriously showering praises on the album during the first few listens. However, with more listens, the encomiums flow more freely and the album becomes a prized sweetheart in one's CD collection.
But, Heaven Or Las Vegas is not all about difficult numbers. There are a few songs -- for instance, "Pitch The Baby," "Iceblink Luck," and "Road, River And Rail," which have the pleasing quality of radio-hits, as well as the title song: Not only is it the Twins' best to date, but their most attractive, touching, appealing, charismatic, and hypnotic.
For the Twins' frigid music style, this album is warm; it is a summer album. Even in the Twins' laidback style, the songs are subtly vivified and are as bright as the morning sunshine. Simple in nature, Heaven Or Las Vegas is minimally 'produced,' and this is noticeable, especially in Elizabeth Fraser's vocals, which is devoid of any echoic embellishments and is considerably stripped. But this does not make her "Greek" vocals sound more "English."
Much like the glint in a baby's eyes, Heaven Or Las Vegas is innocent; it has a spark with warmth in its heart. It knows not of the glacial world outside, and seeks protection from it. Be it due to the instantly charming title song, or the not-so-striking persona of "Frou-Frou Foxes In Midsummer Fires," this relaxed but sprightly album is as interesting as its song titles, and is as mesmerizing as this band itself.