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The Spangle Maker

What about the "Pink Opaque"? It's a masterpiece! Aikea Guinea is delicious and mesmerizing!! Pepper Tree and Mussette and Drums are both evil and gorgeous at the same time. I bought this album 16 years ago and I have been blow away by it ever since!! There has never been another group that I could even compare to the Cocteau Twins through all of these years! I have cried to their music, made love to their music,and time after time I've been mentally soothed by their effervescent melodies. They are unreal and unearthly!
written by Michele Ann (michele@tampabay.rr.com ) on April 26, 1999

Who else but Elizabeth Fraser could take a song like The Spangle Maker,(a song that doesn't have much backing at the beginning,) and turn it into one of the most intensely original songs ever created!!! I absolutely love her slightly synthesized voice wailing out in a way I've never heard before or that much since. She could take a cow belle and make it into a masterpiece of music!!!! Not to downplay the backup music,(which explodes perfectly to a close,) but her voice is so original and so focused and yet completely foreign,that one can only sit back and listen to it all unfold....Like a Spangle,glistening in your eyes and ears...Brilliant and never to be forgotten.......
written by Daniel on December 21, 1998

Selv om dette er en av CTs svakere EPs, så er åpningskuttet en stor klassiker. Det samme kan sies om Pearly Dewdrops’ Drops, men The Spangle Maker er helt klart høydepunktet. Det vil si ~ slutten av låta, når alt eksploderer! Flaggbæreren for senere låter som Ooze Out and Away, Sigh’s Smell of Farewell, Pur, Donimo, Treasure Hiding, etc, etc… Selv om Pepper~Tree er et fint eksperimentelt bidrag, så må den finne seg i å være en aldrig så liten outsider. Det hele blir liksom litt tomt uten en bass-linje og de tunge trommene passer slettes ikke inn. Det som redder denne låten er Liz flotte vokaler og vakkert pianospill av Simon.
written by kev on November 19, 1998

First, i have to say that i don’t really have the release itself but i do have The Pink Opaque (The Spangle Maker / Pearly-Dewdrops’ Drops (7” version) / Pepper-Tree) and The Forgotten 4AD tracks (Pearly-Dewdrops’ Drops 12” version), so i do have every song on CD only on different releases. Because of that, i will take my freedom to give The Spangle Maker as EP my critical points of view. Is it a free country or what? The title track is definitively one of the best tracks from the Twins’ heavy production period, may i dare to say ”gothic” period. I read in an earlier review that you can’t avoid being touched when the storm sets in at the end of this song, and i must say i couldn’t agree more. It sends shivers down my spine. Along with Millimillenary, Wax and Wane and Hitherto, it’s the highlights of The Pink Opaque album! Pearly-Dewdrops’ Drops on the other hand is one of the weaker tracks of this period. That’s mainly because it lacks depth while Pepper-tree, though very experimental, is a bit empty without a bass-line. Without the bass, it doesn’t seem to work with the heavy drums either. But anyway, it’s just CT exploring and testing the limits of their music. It’s one of their weaker EP’s, but not without highlights. Liz as usual, lifts the songs on a great level all the way through. She saves the day! What would the Twins be without her??????????
written by kevin (kevin.by@admtrd.ninaniku.no ) on September 30, 1998

This must be the most condensed CT EP qualitywise, but with ease and perfection in production. I have played it and grown tired of it, but hail it with a soar voice. Why they did not include the 12" version of Pearly on Pink Opaque is a bloody nuisance! That beginning, fairy-taily in a sirenlike brood, setting the stage for the entire song - bluntly cut off! The song is of course as ecstatic as they would ever come to be, but I'd still single out Spangle Maker as the flagship of this recording. How restrained, proud, and suddenly gushing in silver and gold! It luckily sent echoes (the whole EP did) to my favourite of all time, Love's Easy Tears, and its fellow trackmates. Also production is similar. A tingeling sound..
written by mizan (rotarot@yahoo.com ) on August 25, 1998

THE SPANGLE MAKER is notable for many reasons. First, the title track is the first trademark CT starts-slow-builds-to-explosive-climax songs. (to be followed in later years by "Ooze Out and Away Onehow" and "Froufrou Foxes in Midsummer Fires" to name but two!) Liz's vocals truly function as another instrument, chanting, incanting, chiming like bells... creating wave upon wave of sound. (Just try to be unmoved by this song once it kicks in towards the end, I don't think it's possible.) The same goes for "Pearly Dewdrops' Drops", even if the 12" version gets a bit repetitious. "Peppertree" is an oddity, but, an interesting experiment. Throughout this release, the CT guitar sound continues to evolve into something delightfully alien. Check it out.
written by warren j. g. mianecke (wmianecke@mag.rochester.edu ) on April 14, 1998

Okay I'll post for this one, since no one else seems to have! The Spangle Maker is one of my favorite CT songs, & I love a good 80-90% of their songs (as in, more than just LIKE). Spangle Maker has an edge to it. It's dark. Kind of slowly building feeling - plateau, the throbbing beat coupled with the throbbing verses, then the chorus, then back to the verse, then chorus, then a SECOND chorus at the end, the grand finale, like fireworks going up, with LIz totally cutting loose & everything exploding simultaneously. I agree that it's orgasmic. The guitar feedback is INGENIOUS. The way its manipulated into these howling moaning waves of sound. Like whales, like being deep under the ocean listening to whale sounds. To me its one of the dark, more painful pieces, smouldering anger rising to the surface and being released at the end. I'm using it for a picture I'm painting this quarter - all in shades of black & red, my favorite color combination. Pearly Dewdrops Drops considerably lightens the atmosphere & doesn't match the majesty of the 1st track, imho; it may have been their most succesful track (chart-wise), but I must say it's one of my least favorites, which I know is sacrilege among those who consider it one of the CT classics. It's just too about-nothing. Title & all, it's sort of goofy & silly. Well I take that back. The beginning of the song I like. Love, in fact. Nice wash of guitar sound, & the first verses Liz sings are great. I just don't like the end - it overstays its welcome. One of the tracks where I really go, "what the hell is she singing?" On most tracks I don't mind at all not being able to understand. "Pepper Tree" is very mellow & not one of my favorites, but pretty, easily overlooked because of its mellowness. Conjures an image of someone sitting in a waiting room, drumming their fingers & waiting for something - especially with the clock ticking at the end. Pretty cryptic - what's that about? Pretty, but not very substantial - like chiffon draperies blowing in a gentle breeze. This is probably one of the weaker EPs in my opinion, but The Spangle Maker (title track) is just so good it doesn't matter. Also a very good opener for The Pink Opaque. I LOVE THE SPANGLE MAKER! "kiss the droplet - is the droplet on my truth, ah" "kiss the spangle - its the spangle maker" or something? her voice sounds so alien too - inhuman almost. The song makes me think of the cover of the Pink Opaque - dark oozing opaqueness, with blinding highlights, nothing clearly discernible, but definitely evocative.
written by Joseph Schlottman (dedril@elwha.evergreen.edu ) on February 09, 1998

The spangle maker is an orgasm in the form of notes. I give it a 10. More later...
written by David (quadrafo@tin.iy ) on December 04, 1997

The Spangle Maker is thee most haunting record I have ever heared, Its brilliant. When I first heard it on the Radio, I had to go out and buy it... I then heared Pearly Dewdrops drops and that was the most haunting record I have ever heared.... I bought Head over Heels that was the most haunting record I had ever heared.... Do you get what I'm saying... I have loved every single thing they have ever done... But my all time favorites have NEVER been released They are the 1984 John Peel Sessions Queest, which later became Beatrix Peeb bo Later Ivo. etc Favorite lp trach is Heaven or Las Vegas. Mmmmmm.... Cocteau Twins = Perfection...
written by Neil (neil@lien-4.demon.co.uk ) on September 30, 1997

This one is one of the best, a gripping musical journey through vivid emotions and images that will keep pulling you back. The whole EP has an ascending structure, plunging you to the depths of depression then rising to heights of ecstasy over 4 songs. The sheer depth of loneliness and desperation of the first song, Pink Orange Red, cannot be matched, and it captures all the melancholy you ever felt or imagined. You are transported right away to another, haunting world. The next song eases up on the darkness, telling of musings on a rainy day, some depressed, some hopeful, all with that distinct feeling of seclusion for a limited time as you stare out the window at the weather. With the next song, Plain Tiger, the brightening trend continues as you take off on a flight, starting grim and dark, but reaching fantastic places of alien beauty through unknowable paths. At last, you come to the pure, innocent clarity of Sultitan Itan, the feeling of careless freedom, with the warm touch of unconditional love.
written by Adrian Robert on August 04, 1997

Hmmm-- my review below (and the one after that), refer to Tiny Dynamine... I wonder where the Spangle Maker reviews end up? Gotta love that technology :-)
written by Angela McGhee (amcghee@erols.com ) on February 12, 1997

This is one of my all time favorite EPs-- gorgeous, complex, both dramatic and subtle-- to my ear some of the band's best work. Pink Orange Red is the standout here-- a song unlike any other in the CT oevre, it builds from dramatic pauses and silent spaces to to an incredible descending guitar line and chorus. Liz's singing is powerful and plaintive. This song gives me the feeling of listening to someone emoting eloquently and forcefully in a language I can't understand... hard to explain in words. It's just a really well-constructed piece of music, on a par with great classical and jazz compositions, methinks. Ribbed and Veined is a sultry, atmospheric instrumental, with sensuous bass and a simple but gorgeous guitar melody. This sounds sexy to me, like a soundtrack for a sizzling love scene. Sultitan Itan has a contemplative, melancholy quality , with a soaring, searing chorus of chiming guitar and powerful singing. Plain Tiger, like Pink Orange Red, is to me a unique CT sound. It's an airy, uptempo piece, juxtaposing this melting, echoing harp-like guitar sound (I have 0 technical musical knowledge so I can't really describe it much better than that) with Liz in "full cry", edgy and jazzy. At times in this song she sounds a little like John Lennon to me(?!) To sum up, this is just a great collection of songs. With me, it was something of an acquired taste at first, but on repeated listening you start to "get" more and more.
written by Angela McGhee (amcghee@erols.com ) on February 10, 1997

This completed my Twins collection very recently, and it has to be said that Pink Orange Red, and Ribbed and Veined are two of their GREATEST EVER tracks! Pink Orange Red has stirred me emotionally more than ANY other song of theirs, while Ribbed and Veined is a mellow instrumental to end all instrumentals! The track was so beautiful that on my first listening, it was only until the song was nearly over that I realised Liz wasn't singing on it. And terrible as this may sound, I think the track benefits without it!! I cant understand why there hasn't been more postings about this song; I might have bought it much earlier had I read some positive reveiws of it!
written by Timmy on November 03, 1996