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Ethereal Back Catalogue

Cocteau Twins
BBC Sessions
(Rykodisc/Bella Union)

When you've had a career as long as the Cocteau Twins did (assuming that they've indeed broken up), it's inevitable that after your demise, there will still be a variety of albums that hit stores to commemerate your work. If the fan base is large enough, there will no doubt be tribute albums, b-sides volumes, and other offerings to appease the masses who just couldn't get enough of your music and have been itching to get something new. For the most part, it's hard to still draw in new fans after a bands demise, but occassionally someone will hear the music that hadn't heard it before and go back and pick up some back catalogue to resolve for missing out.

BBC Sessions is 2CDs and over 100 minutes worth of songs by the group that will mainly appeal to the hardcore fan of the group, due to the fairly typical presentation of the songs. Not only that, but it's kind of a strange collection of the music of the group, starting with very old recordings (from 1982-1984) before jumping ahead over 10 years to some of their most recent material before their breakup (1996). For that reason, it's kind of a odd collection, as it skips out on many of the groups middle albums, including great material from Blue Bell Knoll, the very excellent Heaven Or Las Vegas, and Four Calendar Cafe.

Basically, the first disc of the release is the one that will take you back in the day the most. With 16 tracks, the main material covered is from Garlands, as well as different tracks from The Pink Opaque and a couple of B-sides that have only been previously available on their 10-CD singles box set. Culled from 3 different John Peel Sessions and one more with Kid Jensen, the tracks get more and more dreamy as the disc progresses, as well as working better and better (perhaps because the band got more and more comfortable with the settings).

The second disc continues on in the same manner and the source material actually comes from 4 very different places. While there is still 4 tracks from a Peel Session and another from a Mark Radcliffe session, there are also 3 from a broadcast of Saturday Night Live and a few more from Robert Elms. Overall, the recording quality of the tracks is better on the disc, as well as the overall sound of the band. In terms of material covered, there are several tracks from Treasure before jumping clear ahead to Milk And Kisses and the Twinlights EP.

As mentioned above, this release is mainly for more hardcore fans of the group, as it doesn't give a very good overview or progression of their music (it skips too many of their middle albums). Still, though, there are a lot of interesting tracks (including some slightly different versions of very old ones) that fans will definitely want to have.

Rating: 6.75