America, meet Cocteau Twins.
The Cocteau Twins signed an international distribution agreement in 1985, and to mark the occasion—and to give Americans some exposure to what the band had previously recorded—4AD released a compilation album entitled The Pink Opaque in November. The album's ten tracks draw from material released from 1982 to 1984, and include songs from Garlands, Head Over Heels, Sunburst and Snowblind, The Spangle Maker, and Treasure, as well as the previously unreleased track, "Millimillenary."
One may notice that selections from Lullabies, Peppermint Pig, Tiny Dynamine and Echoes In A Shallow Bay are conspicuously absent. It's most likely the case that material from the early EP's simply did not fit very well with other material on the compilation, and wouldn't have appealed to the target audience, which was largely American. Even "Wax and Wane," the earliest track on the album, had been re-mixed. Tiny Dynamine and Echoes In A Shallow Bay were new at the time, and were released as a double EP (CAD 510/511 CD) in the same month as The Pink Opaque. Acute listeners will notice that the sound quality of a few songs is slightly improved on The Pink Opaque compared with the previous recordings (most notably "Pearly-Dewdrops' Drops" and "Aikea-Guinea").
The Pink Opaque is slightly on the rare side nowadays—Capitol Records had no reason to re-release it in 1991 when they re-released all the EPs in the form of the CD Box Set—and that has naturally increased its value. It is, of course, valuable for the sake of its original purpose: to give an unfamiliar ear an abridged Cocteau Twins education. The Pink Opaque is the most highly recommended release when someone asks, "Where should I start?", after being confronted with the band's extensive discography. Another reason to own The Pink Opaque is that it's the only place one will find "Millimillenary." The original NME compilation tape on which it appeared is exceedingly rare if not completely gone. "Millimillenary" hails from the period of The Spangle Maker, and was the first track to feature Simon Raymonde.
Once the world was up-to-date, as it were, the trio continued work on a variety of projects: a collaboration with Harold Budd on a film soundtrack which was later released as The Moon and The Melodies; Simon worked once again with Ivo Watts-Russell and This Mortal Coil; Liz and Robin did some work with friends Dif Juz and Felt as well as produced their own acoustic tinkerings, which became the wintry sounds of Victorialand.