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The Drum Machines of Cocteau Twins

  • By Adam Douglas
  • Reverb
  • 23-Jun 2022

Few bands that came out of the creatively fertile 1980s were as unique as the Cocteau Twins: a phantasmagorical mix of Elizabeth Fraser’s otherworldly vocals and Robin Guthrie’s effects-laden guitars, they sounded like nothing else before it and would go on to influence countless bands and genres.

While much has been said about Fraser’s operatic vocals and poetic lyrics—not to mention Guthrie’s heavenly guitar playing and effects chains—very little attention has been paid to their use of drum machines. This could be because the band was rarely photographed with one, preferring to run the rhythm track off a reel-to-reel when performing live and in music videos. It’s also likely because the vocals and guitar were so distinctive that they overshadowed everything else.

Whatever the reason, it’s time to shine a little light on the unsung element of the band: the rhythm machines.

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