“One of the things that’s a stand-out in my memory was a little party we had just at the end, when all the mixing had been done and it had been sequenced—and there was a whole bunch of our mates over [to listen to it for the first time] and part of you is just looking at how they’re reacting… What’s the worst thing in the world? You’re playing somebody a new song and twenty seconds into it they start talking—about themselves, usually. Well, this was 40 minutes of just silence and mouths open. That, for me, was a very powerful moment. It was like, whoa, it’s a goodie.” Robin Guthrie
Heaven or Las Vegas
- September 1990
- 4AD / Capitol
- CAD 0012
- 37 min, 42 sec
- Cherry-coloured funk
- Pitch the baby
- Iceblink luck
- Fifty-fifty clown
- Heaven or Las Vegas
- I wear your ring
- Wolf in the breast
- Road, river and rail
- Frou-frou foxes in midsummer fires
- Written, recorded, and produced by Cocteau Twins at September Sound, London.
- Sleeve design by Paul West. Photography by Andy Rumball.
- Peaked at #7 on the UK album chart, and #99 in the US. “Iceblink luck” peaked at #38 on the UK singles chart, and #4 on the US alternative singles chart. “Heaven or Las Vegas” peaked at #9 on the US alternative singles chart.
- Promotional videos were produced for “Iceblink luck” and “Heaven or Las Vegas.”
- A promotional-only single of “Heaven or Las Vegas” was released, which featured an edit of the song (the version featured in the video), backed with “Dials.”
- “Iceblink luck” was featured as b-side on a 1990 Japan-only release of the single “Athol-Brose” (from the LP Blue Bell Knoll).
- An alternate version of “Pitch the baby” was recorded and released on the Mute Records/4AD compilation “Red Tape.”
- A version of “Cherry-coloured funk,” remixed by Mark Clifford, appears on the 1995 EP Otherness.
- The following songs have appeared in live performances: “Cherry-coloured funk,” “Pitch the baby,” “Iceblink luck,” “Fifty-fifty clown,” “Heaven or Las Vegas,” “I wear your ring,” “Wolf in the breast,” and “Road, river, and rail.”
- The songs “Cherry-coloured funk,” “Pitch the baby,” and “Frou-frou foxes in midsummer fires,” were performed live with new arrangements by Elizabeth Fraser during her Meltdown Festival solo performances in 2012.
- The songs “Iceblink luck,” “Fifty-fifty clown” and “Heaven or Las Vegas” appear on the 2000 compilation Stars and Topsoil.
- The working title of the song “Heaven or Las Vegas” was “Crispy Fiver Blue.”
- This was the last Cocteau Twins recording to appear on the 4AD label, and was simultaneously released on Capitol Records in the United States.
- Heaven or Las Vegas was digitally remastered and re-released by 4AD in 2003.
- Voted #18 of “Scotland’s 100 Best Rock and Pop Albums” in 2003.
- Heaven or Las Vegas was the focus of a BBC Scotland programme, “Classic Scottish Albums,” in 2007.
- The track “Heaven or Las Vegas” was remixed by Starslinger in 2010.
- A digitally remastered vinyl edition of Heaven or Las Vegas was released by 4AD in 2014.
- Ranked #1 on Pitchfork.com’s “Greatest Dream Pop Albums of All Time” list.
- Received a “Perfect 10” review on Pitchfork.com (for vinyl reissue in 2014).
- Included in Pitchfork’s “1,001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.”
- Included in Pitchfork’s “Top 100 Albums of the 90s.”
- “Road, River, and Rail” was included on the two-disc compilation that accompanied the 2013 book, Facing the Other Way: The Story of 4AD, by Martin Aston.
- Heaven or Las Vegas has been the most commercially successful of all Cocteau Twins albums.
Listen and buy online
- “Bringing Up Baby”. Steve Sutherland. Melody Maker. 25-Aug 1990.
- “Missing Blink”. Kevin Murphy. Record Mirror. 8-Sep 1990.
- “What’s the meaning of life?”. Kevin Murphy. Record Mirror. 8-Sep 1990.
- Review of Heaven or Las Vegas. Barbara Ellen. NME/New Musical Express. 15-Sep 1990.
- “Thank Heaven for Little Girls”. Sounds. 15-Sep 1990.
- Heaven Scent: A review of Heaven or Las Vegas. Shaun Phillips. Sounds. 15-Sep 1990.
- “Crash! Bang! Wallop! The Cocteau Twins are back!”. NME/New Musical Express. 22-Sep 1990.
- “Polished Plebians”. Rachel Felder. Alternative Press. 1-Oct 1990.
- “Heavenly Bodies”. Clodagh O’Connell. Select. Oct 1990.
- “Viva Las Vegas”. Andrew Perry. Select. Oct 1990.
- “The Dareable Twins”. Making Music. Oct 1990.
- “No Kidding”. Alan Jackson. Vox. Nov 1990.
- “The ‘Teau Nailed”. Philip Bradley. International Musician & Recording World. Nov 1990.
- “Nappy Hour”. Laura Lee Davies. 1990.
- Profile: Robin Guthrie. Steph Paynes. Guitar Player. Feb 1991.
- “Cocteau Twins”. Thrust. 8-Jan 1991.
- “Casino Royale”. Steve Sutherland. Melody Maker. 12-Jan 1991.
- Untitled. Q. Feb 1991.
- “This is a tale of great expectations”. Chris Heath. Details. Jan 1991.
- “Top 100 Albums of the 1990s”. Pitchfork Staff. Pitchfork. 17-Nov 2003.
- “Ether Madness”. David Stubbs. Uncut. Apr 2003.
- Review of Heaven or Las Vegas. ”Bartender”. Sputnik Music. 16-Jan 2005.
- “Review Blue Bell Knoll and Heaven or Las Vegas”. Danny Riley. The Quietus. 1-Aug 2014.
- “Twin Peaks”. Keith Cameron. Q. Aug 2014.
- “Divine Rapture: Simon Raymonde revisits Cocteau Twins’ purple patch”. Colm McAuliffe. The Skinny. 1-Jul 2014.
- “Cocteau Twins: The Complete Guide”. Jack Scourfield. Clash. 14-Jul 2014.
- Reviews of Blue Bell Knoll and Heaven or Las Vegas. Stephen Deusner. Pitchfork. 16-Jul 2014.
- “Heaven or Las Vegas is 26 today”. Form Design Blog. 16-Sep 2017.
- “The 30 Best Dream Pop Albums”. Pitchfork. 16-Apr 2018.
- Tim Burgess and Simon Raymonde co-host Twitter ‘Listening Party’ for Heaven or Las Vegas. 3-Apr 2020.