Essential New Music: Cocteau Twins’ “The Pink Opaque”


Cocteau Twins was three albums and seven EPs into its career before its first U.S. release, The Pink Opaque, arrived in 1986, but by that time, the Scottish trio was already a cult favorite among the college-radio crowd. Opaque was a smart compilation that served as a perfect introduction; although Cocteau Twins recorded six albums and a slew of EPs over the following decade, it still contains 40 minutes of the band’s best work, including heavy, goth-leaning album tracks like “Wax And Wane,” heavenly singles like “Pearly-Dewdrops’ Drops” and some of Elisabeth Fraser’s most memorable, ineffable melodies. like “Lorelei” and “Aikea-Guinea.” A few were alternate mixes and one track, “Millimillenary,” is still a rarity.

The Pink Opaque has long been out of print, so this vinyl (and digital) reissue is relevant, even among other Cocteau Twins compilations. The Tiny Dynamine and Echoes In A Shallow Bay EPs arrived in November 1985, and here they’re combined onto one album. They’re transitional, often more ethereal Cocteau Twins. (“Pink Orange Red” is the highlight of the eight tracks.)

—Steve Klinge