Cocteau Twins ‎– Garlands

4AD ‎– CAD 211
Vinyl, LP, Album


A1 Blood Bitch 4:37
A2 Wax And Wane 4:02
A3 But I'm Not 2:49
A4 Blind Dumb Deaf 3:46
B1 Shallow Then Halo 5:15
B2 The Hollow Men 5:03
B3 Garlands 4:31
B4 Grail Overfloweth 5:23

Companies, etc.



Liner notes:
Engineered by Eric and John at Blackwing.
'Déar Carol, Wé shall both die in your rósary: Elizabeth'.

Pressed at MPO Averton.

℗ 1982 4 A.D.

Copies imported to Germany have got an IIS sticker and Intercord Cat# 198576 (see last pic).

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Matrix / Runout (Side A, etched): MPO CAD 211 A¹ BILBO TAPE ONE
  • Matrix / Runout (Side B, etched): MPO CAD 211 B¹ BILBO TAPE ONE

Other Versions (5 of 41) View All

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
TECI-21338 Cocteau Twins Garlands(CD, Album, RE, RM) Imperial Records (13), 4AD TECI-21338 Japan 2006 Sell This Version
GAD 211 CD Cocteau Twins Garlands(CD, Album, RE, RM) 4AD GAD 211 CD US 2003 Sell This Version
GAD 211 CD Cocteau Twins Garlands(CD, Album, RE, RM) 4AD GAD 211 CD UK 2003 Sell This Version
none Cocteau Twins Garlands(LP, W/Lbl) 4AD none UK Unknown Sell This Version
C4 96415 Cocteau Twins Garlands(Cass, Album, RE) Capitol Records, 4AD C4 96415 US 1991 Sell This Version


Reviews Show All 15 Reviews

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January 30, 2020
4AD has just announced that they will be re-issuing vinyl of both Garlands and Victorialand.


September 13, 2018
On revisiting this, maybe I should offer a generic apology to Elizabeth Fraser here about the lyrics (and any interpretation which jarrs). About the lyrics and the way I hear them it's - fraught with error and that's part of the fun (?). I know I can get the lyrics wrong, and sometimes with directly opposed meaning (which I suppose could upset Liz?). So please don't take me too seriously. Hopefully any (mis) interpretations can just be taken as part of the nature of veils and revelation in any journey . . .

So: as for the Googled lyrics of Blind Deaf Dumb:
Blind dumb deafen offends
I was never a part of it

I heard it as something that has almost the OPPOSITE in meaning:
By the method of faith
I'll swear that I'm part of it

How could I hear "Blind dumb deafen offends" as "By the method of faith" ? It's worth listening to the track - it gives further appreciation of Liz's beautiful lyrics, unusual poetry and rhythm.


March 27, 2018
Garlands is such a strange album. I have written a few bits here on Discogs, but have not yet brought myself to chain this album to words . . .

I love all of Cocteau Twins' releases, but Garlands definitely has a place of its own in my heart. Many 'fans' don't like Garlands. Others say Cocteau Twins albums get better, one after the other until Heaven and Las Vegas (the professed pinnacle). Obviously personal taste affects assessment of how to rank a Cocteau Twins album. It is hard to 'pick a favourite', kicking the others off the pedestal.

I'd say the best CT albums are the first three and between the first three there is a kind of odd journey - emerging a primordial state (Garlands); raw, seeing for the first time, all is a dazzle and there is little difference between blindness and sight. The journey continues in Limbo (Head over Heels); and finally there is arrival, or transcendance (Treasure). Of course I love the CT albums succeeding these three as the gems are all undoubtedly still present. (Alice is a wonderful track - and Dif Juz's Love Insane with Elizabeth Fraser's vocals is one of my favourite tracks . . .). But for those first three albums there seems to be something more complete / completely perfect.

Treasure is certainly a beauty, and with the track titles - godly, with a small G. It is a finely polished gem. Donimo is like arriving at the pearly gates, wings aflutter. Lorelei evokes the feeling of having been in heaven and passed straight through it. What else is there? Listen to Lorelei from 2 minutes twenty secs onwards: 'de dow de dow de dow de dow de dowwww . . . wwwwwop!' this part of the song effortlessly conveys a past yearning for heaven, twiddling thumbs to the turned face of beauty.

Head over Heels is also a beauty with its extraordinary position between two other perfect albums. "When Mama Was queer, I broke down in my womb" . . . this first track has the raw, vital sound of the album it is leaving, Garlands, but there is a new twinkling of purity, the future sound of CT: listen to this track, you'll hear what I mean. My Love Paramour - can you imagine if a piece of music like this were to emerge again today? And then the final track, Musette and Drums - insinuating the fusion of hard and soft, the delicate musette and the beating of drums.

To get back to the feeling of Garlands as a Cocteau Twins album in a territory of its own, part of the reason for this is the different line-up, having Will Heggie's bass. But also, Garlands has a rawer sound, almost grating - this gets to the magic of the album. Garlands seems to fuse the beauty of sound with its discordant opposite better than I have heard in other music. This fusion reveals a kind of pure light as it first emerges from its partner, darkness. It's difficult to put into words, once put in words they seem too small: sacred / profane, a religious feeling of being shown something secret, a lot of people have spoken like this to me of this album.

Blind Dumb Deaf seems to evoke some kind of fated, unrelenting, inescapable entrance into reality, "by the method of faith, I'll swear that I'm part of it." Swearing into a reality which could be both horrific and wonderful - the only reality. And then the title track itself, Garlands. I do love the opening track of Blood Bitch, it's supremely powerful with it's bass. However, if Blood Bitch weren't there, then Garlands could be. Garlands starts off with a strange build up of discordant screeches (very much like the sound of Gordon Sharpe's Cindytalk at that time). It's a bit like a train approaching. The music then hits you like a train. Garlands therefore is the perfect beginning album for the CT journey.

By the way, most of the Cocteau Twins' lyrics are words. I really wish Elizabeth would publish them - she obviously worked on them very hard and they do contribute to the beauty of the sound.

I mentioned Gordon Sharpe of Cindytalk. He appears with vocals in some of the extra tracks of Garlands. I wish there were more of these collaborations: his voice with Elizabeth's would be the perfect accompaniment. Camoufalge Heart is a stunning Cindytalk album (along with Wappinschaw and In This World.) Cindytalk is the best group 4AD didn't release - Gordon Sharpe did some work with This Mortal Coil.


November 3, 2017
Siouxie and the Banshees as well as Bauhaus loom large over this LP, but it does of course have its own colours too. More overtly melodic and self-similar in instrumentation and sonics than the Banshees, for example, and Elizabeth Frazers vocals are always a joy. They improved a lot from this promising start...


June 7, 2016
edited over 4 years ago
Somewhere halfway down the early-era Mute (due to the use of similar synthdrum patterns in most songs) with bizarre Siouxsie/Yazoo-ish leanings, Cocteau Twins ignited their beautiful firestorm that will rapidly progress with every next record.

In stark contrast to their later albums however, "Garlands" is definitely rawer and more experimental a debut, but the established trademark sound is already there and at full pace knocking on 1983's door - merciless hazy guitars ("Psychocandy" was still some years away), brushed along distant, murky basslines with Elisabeth Fraser's gorgeously agitated glossolalia attacks. Intense and nostalgic, it's a beautifully disturbing little story told, getting away with its secret kept safe.

Originally 8 songs alone, 4AD's earlier CD edition is of particular recommendation due to its included extras - a stunning Peel Session which already marks sound improvement ("Dear Heart" especially sends shivers down the spine, an odd track that never resurfaced in studio form other than this session) plus a few stunning early studio outtakes that were intended for the album but were left off in the end - the claustrophobic-agoraphobic stare of "Speak No Evil" and the tantrum that is "Perhaps Some Other Aeon".


March 10, 2015

Young vibrant but undeniably dark and Gothic.


May 26, 2006
edited over 14 years ago
A totally unique album. Cocteau Twins found their definite style only after the release of this, their first album, yet Garlands stands on its own merit and has never been matched by the Cocteau Twins or any other band before or after.
Garlads owes much more to new wave than later Cocteau Twins works. Still it's probably the first dream pop/shoegazer album ever. It's not all about bliss, though; musically as well as lyrically it's very dark. Pronounced basslines and very solid beatmachine programming compliment the typical fluid guitar. But most of all there's no song on this album without at least one startling melodic idea by Elizabeth Fraser.
To me, one of the best albums ever made.