Cocteau Twins – Tiny Dynamine; Echoes In A Shallow Bay (1985/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 32:43 minutes | 748 MB | Genre: Alternative
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Artwork: Front cover | © 4AD
Tiny Dynamine and Echoes in a Shallow Bay are two EPs by Cocteau Twins that were released in November of 1985. The tracks were originally recorded in order to test a new recording studio the band was using.
Released in tandem with the Echoes in a Shallow Bay EP and each essentially a companion piece to the other – the cover art and design alone are virtually clones – Tiny Dynamine documents a more relaxed Cocteau Twins. The band steps away more from the intense drama often brought to earlier albums and singles, indirectly signaling the equally calm but striking work that would surface on Victorialand and The Moon and the Melodies. “Pink Orange Red” would turn into a longtime favorite of the group’s, played on later tours and remade for the Twinlights EP nearly a decade later. A heartbreakingly beautiful Guthrie guitar opens the track, echoing and liquid, with Fraser’s vocal coming in a few chords later. Raymonde’s bass and the drum machine kick in a full-band arrangement, while Guthrie’s descending guitar lines after each verse provide the icing on the cake. The instrumental “Ribbed and Veined” has some fine Guthrie chiming and a loping percussion beat to recommend it, while “Sultitan Itan” is fair but not quite as strong in comparison, nice multi-tracking of Fraser’s vocals on the chorus aside. “Plain Tiger” concludes the EP on a slightly playful note, an upbeat little rhythm groove on the verses alternating with a more strident tone on the chorus, Fraser’s voice being much more staccato at the latter points.
Appearing the same month as its companion release Tiny Dynamine, Echoes maintains the more relaxed-though-still-lush feeling of that EP; if its songs aren’t quite as memorable as some of those on Dynamine, they still provide that lovely, unique Cocteau feeling in their performances and arrangements. “Great Spangled Fritillary” adds a touch of dark psychedelia to the proceedings, gong-like chimes and buried feedback drones mixing with the more expected Fraser singing and drum machine loops. “Melonella” has a neat hook by matching the main piano line and Fraser’s voice exactly in the verse, one constantly accompanying the other. For the chorus, she steps away for a little more free-form singing against extra guitar. “Pale Clouded White,” the EP’s best track, reintroduces the slightly ominous, dramatic edge that often characterizes the band’s most memorable work. An insistent piano line matches with the bass/drum combination, while Guthrie incorporates both electric and acoustic guitar lines as Fraser sings with understated but strong passion. “Eggs and Their Shells” wraps Echoes up on a softer note, a sweet Fraser vocal and guitar/piano arrangement leading the way.
01 – Pink Orange Red
02 – Ribbed and Veined
03 – Plain Tiger
04 – Sultitan Itan
05 – Great Spangled Fritillary
06 – Melonella
07 – Pale Clouded White
08 – Eggs and Their Shells