"We never wanted it to be a Cocteau Twins album," continues Simon. "We even went to great lengths not to use the band name. We just listed all of our names individually. Everyone made a big deal out of it. Everyone had this idea that it was a really serious album. It wasn't. It was just something we wanted to do."—Simon Raymonde
"The project actually started out as a television documentary," explained Simon. "But when funding fell through, we all thought the material was too good to scrap, so we decided to release it as an album." It was then that the confusion regarding the project known as The Moon and The Melodies began. "We never wanted it to be a Cocteau Twins album," continues Simon. "We even went to great lengths not to use the band name. We just listed all of our names individually. Everyone made a big deal out of it. Everyone had this idea that it was a really serious album. It wasn't. It was just something we wanted to do." Continued Guthrie of Harold Budd, "He's not the classic serious musician you think. He's just a regular fellow." [Reflex Magazine, 1988].
"I don't know if it actually worked, but working with Harold is great. I think it turned out more like four songs that sounded like us and four songs that sounded like him, which wasn't really the plan. We met him and he just seemed like such a nice bloke. I don't care about the music he makes or the music that any of the people I work with make, because quite often it's that you meet them and you like them, and therefore you want to do something. I like Harold because of his very laid-back nature." [Sound on Sound, July 1989]
Those familiar with Budd's work will instantly recognize his sonic signature on The Moon and The Melodies. Most of the tracks have a sort of gelatinous, ectoplasmic feel to them, like a piano being played under water. Add to that the Cocteau Twins' chiming, silky guitars and bass rhythms, and the soaring enigma that is Liz's voice, and you have the right recipe, although Liz sings on only four of the album's eight tracks; the remaining four are instrumentals.
"Well, I must confess that I'd not heard of the Cocteaus before," explained Budd in a 1986 interview with Dave Sexton, "but when they approached me, I contacted a friend in the music industry who told me I would like them, and put a tape together for me. And he was absolutely right. From there it was literally a matter of packing and catching a flight out."
When asked how he felt about the Cocteau Twins' often unusual methods of recording, he added, "Oh yes [I was pleased], very much so. As musicians, I found them immensely interesting people to work with. And in spite of my inclination to work alone, it's great to get into the studio with someone else and pick each other's brains—very satisfying."
This record is less delicate in some ways than Victorialand, and is in many places a bit louder—a characteristic which may be attributed to the return of Simon and the presence of Mr. Budd. It is both the culmination of the trend started with Tiny Dynamine and Echoes In A Shallow Bay and the start of yet another trend towards a wall-of-sound-type aesthetic. This is more evident on songs like "Sea, Swallow Me," "Eyes Are Mosaics," and "Ooze Out and Away, Onehow."
The Moon and The Melodies is music you would hear at those times when you are either just regaining consciousness after a deep sleep, or are fading into the unconsciousness of slumber. It is also the sounds of lovemaking, and the silence of meditation.
Devotees may notice the previously discussed entymological connection between The Moon and The Melodies and previous records, namely Head Over Heels. It is here that we once again see the phrases "ooze out and away, onehow" and "bloody and blunt", which first appeared in the songs "My Love Paramour" and "The Tinderbox (of a heart)" respectively.
There was a European tour in 1986, on which the track "Sea, Swallow Me" was performed in a somewhat abbreviated form, and the song "Memory Gongs" later appeared on the Harold Budd LP Lovely Thunder as "Flower Knife Shadows."
This was not the last time that Harold Budd would collaborate with the Cocteau Twins: three tracks from his 1988 LP The White Arcades were recorded and engineered at the Cocteau Twins studio by Robin Guthrie and Lincoln Fong.