7 Songs That Changed My Life – Day 6: Castles of Sound

Friday, September 18th, 2015 @ 4:47 pm

Day #6

COCTEAU TWINS – SUGAR HICCUP

Well, here’s another band whose singer is usually hard to understand. Like Michael Stipe, Elizabeth Fraser has said that she’s often more concerned with the sound of words than the words themselves, and that really contributes to that signature swirling, otherworldly Cocteau Twins sound. And oh, that voice.

This song was an easy gateway into the Cocteau’s world of aural paintings – delay and reverb-drenched guitars lining the walls of heaven with an angel heralding through the halls. Castles of sound, all made by two guys, a girl and a drum machine. If you had the right gear and knew the proper settings, you could fairly easily emulate their style, but it introduced me to that mind-expanding world of the 4AD record label and its ethereal, Impressionist aesthetic in both graphics and music. I mean, is there a more beautiful body of album cover artwork and other materials than that produced by 23 Envelope?

Like ambient music with an edge, ‘Sugar Hiccup’ served nicely as background music for any number of thoughtful or primal endeavors, but it also had merit as a song whose melody could cling to your brain well after it had faded to silence. Truly, the same could be said for the majority of the Cocteau Twins’ output, whether it be their cloud-dwelling songs like this one, or their dark and more muscular songs such as ‘Persephone.’ Gothic, shoegazey (before the genre existed), and beautiful…what’s not to like?

Other than all that, I chose this song because its title is cute.

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