Heroes: Cocteau Twins

Nominated by Clairo.

This article appears in the pages of V124: Generation V, available for purchase now at shop.vmagazine.com.

Over eight albums, the Cocteau Twins’s soaring vocals and haunting melodies would irrevocably transform music. Formed by Elizabeth Fraser, Robin Guthrie and Will Heggie in 1979, the band popularized shoegaze a decade before the genre officially existed. In March, 4AD will release the group’s 1982 debut Garlands and 1986’s Victorialand on vinyl, bolstering the group as one of their era’s most enduring: With the exception of one LP, a 1986 dual work with avant-garde musician Harold Budd, their entire discography remains in print.

Of course, today’s young people just stream them. One such fan is 21-year-old musician Clairo, once singling out “Cherry-Coloured Funk” in her top-five best songs on Apple Music. Since inheriting her mom’s cassette collection, the viral sensation-turned-indie-powerhouse has held a torch for the Scottish band — both in her half-melancholy, soprano-laced melodies, and her status as a voice of her generation (Gen Z, that is).

Clairo is just beginning that musical reign, as the Twins were in 1982. In vinyl form, the spellbinding Garlands traces the Twins’s origins, as the sole release to feature Heggie, whom Simon Raymonde replaced in ’83. Victorialand jumps forward in time, pivoting from elaborate instrumentals to stripped-back acoustics. That experimental sound continues to transcend the band’s potentially alienating “goth” label—one they resisted up until disbanding in 1997. Because you don’t have to subscribe to any generation’s voice in order to be transported and inspired by Fraser’s.


Courtesy 4AD
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