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Twinlights

BEAUTIFUL!!!! Liz is a siren. Half-Gifts is probably my favorite Cocteau song ever. I can listen to this e.p. in the summer time at my parents ranch out on the country side.
written by Jason K (whitefury@hotmail.com ) on December 23, 1998

Calling this EP accustic is wrong. You can’t play a keyboard without electricity, can you? Anyway, i really like this release! Mainly ‘cuz it’s a fine experiment but also ‘cuz of the quiet and sensitive mood which surrounds it. You can really sit down, relax and enjoy the show. I find the highligt to be Half-Gifts which i infact think fits better in this “accustic” format than the M&K version. The same goes for Rilkean Heart. During the whole EP, Liz almost whispers the lyrics. She’s so tender and carefull. Pink Orange Red is another track which succeedes in its transition from the original. While the original has this BIG and adult sound, this version has just been born.
written by kev (y'all know it... ) on October 22, 1998

PLEASE BE WARNED-I'm afraid I have a tough time with TWINLIGHTS. I've given it many a listen, but, I just don't care for the style, though, I admire the experiment. Liz's singing gets a bit, dare I say it, "precious" here. Yes, I KNOW the lyrics are heartfelt, but, it still seems a bit much. ("Halfgifts" seems to take the personal reflection of FOUR CALENDAR CAFE too far, becoming whiny.) I will say this, "Rilkean Heart" is more successful as an acoustic piece than as the rather dull MILK AND KISSES version. Overall, while I'm happy to hear the Twins exploring different sounds, I honestly can't recommend this one, it disappoints me in a similar way to, say, early Kate Bush.
written by warren j. g. mianecke (wmianecke@mag.rochester.edu ) on April 14, 1998

The only thing I don't like about this ep is that it's just a 14-minute ep. This should have been an album. If it was, it might well be my favorite, as well as an ultimate kind of vindication. After all of the layered guitar and walls of sound, the Cocteaus proved what they're really made of with this stripped-down but absolutely gorgeous ep that calls to mind the Victorialand days of yore, but ultimately pushes further into uncharted territory. I call this the "somewhere in time" ep because of it's timeless, romantic, heavenly splendour. I think it is the most beautiful jem in their long line of radiant jewels - truly scintillant. This version of "Rilkean Heart" is one of my top five favorite Cocteau-songs, relying solely on poetic, sentimental poignance (it actually reminds me a little bit of that old "coca-cola" song, w/ shades of "Dirt-Eaters"era His Name is Alive). "Golden Vein" may well be the most enrapturing soundscape this trio have ever constructed. This ep (along w/ Victorialand) is another one of my impressionist painting printbook faves. The piano-dominated approach works as well for them as anything. Too bad ther couldn't be more like this...
written by Dreadnaut (dtmarlow@hiwaay.net ) on April 12, 1998

here is a smidgen my reality people . the cocteau twins have been a major part of my life since i was fifteen , i have in my possession twelve Cocteau Twin cdz , anyways , the first time i heard them was on CBC Radio (brave new waves) , that was in 1984 . i picked up this ep about four months ago and as per ritual, i park my car on top of mt.tolmie look out over the city and watch what ever sunset there is - ahh , this is where i live on this planet - nice . when i listen to Rilkean Heart & Half-Gifts i find myself moved like i was the first time i heard Donimo . i admitt , this is how i'd like to hear Elizabeth sing a bit more , just a bit then back to Lazy Calm. bye.
written by christopher victoria b.c. canada (hbarclay&vanisle.net ) on September 23, 1997

When I first heard of the Coc's intent to release an acoustic set, my first reaction was "something to prove" - but I'm happy to report that the assumption was incorrect. These songs actually benefit from the stripped down treatment - the bare bones arrangement and the singular voice create greater emotional impact for songs that are personal to their very core. The M&K versions are good too, but not as compelling. This recording is noted for revealing the real person behind the multiple vocal tracks...and surprise!....the voice is no less than you'd expect. Quite beautiful.
written by Doug (dcmoon@capnet.ucla.edu ) on September 22, 1997

How is it that no one has talked about "Golden-Vein"? I was already familiar with the acoustic versions of "Rilkean Heart" and "Half-Gifts" from their performance on Modern Rock Live, and had recently heard the original version of "Pink Orange Red". However, "Golden-Vein" was a real surprise for me. It is a true testament to the fact that without vocal enhancements common to the other recordings, Elizabeth's voice is simply stunning. This track is my personal Cocteau-opera. Mercifully, her astounding vocals aren't the least bit drowned out by other instruments, as tends to be the case in other recordings. Just a simple, harp-like plucking that melds with her trills. If you're afraid buying "Twinlights" might prove redundant or unimportant, I think you will be in for a real surprise.
written by Daniel Rodriguez on May 06, 1997

I'd heard a little about Twinlights before listening to it. Honestly, I expected a let down, especially after the non-Treasure Four-Calendar Cafe. Yet I had to wipe the tears off my face when first hearing the only seconds of Rilkean Heart. I was still in the U.S. Air Force and was on vacation at home - Miami, Florida - when I first heard Twinlights. On an unsuspecting, warm South Beach night I had forgotten my true emotions and was just out to see my city, just to see people and the things which had nurtured me for so long. I stopped at a very "trendy" music shop and casually fumbled for Cocteau Twins stuff. Well, I found Twinlights, popped it in a CD player...and listened. Instantly, I empathized with what little I'd read of Elizabeth Frazer's life, I touched with sharp electricity my Love Died at Home, and remembered all things change and that we don't always rejoice in nostalgia. All those years of hiding seemed to escape violently with first hearing Elizabeth's voice clearly. Twinlights; a revelation, simple and Beautiful realization of the visualization of all the secrets of Treasure, Garlands, etc. (these albums are analogous with stages in my life). It's clean, simple and literally feels like her voice can pull at my chest and warp my attempts to keep the anger and pain of Life within my temporal self. Though not my favorite, Twinlights is among my most cherised collections of Cocteau Twins, and technically notable for the departure from normal Cocteau Twins "sounds".
written by Hector J. Carballosa (N/A ) on May 06, 1997

Wow, the Cox are always great when they`re acoustic! Dimitri`s right. The album versions of these songs are dissapointing. Besides, Liz shows taht it indeed is sad that we so raely understand her lyrics for they are really beautiful and fit the fantastic music very well. "Half-Gifts" is one of the most heart-rendering lyrics ever to be sung with such a divine voice! Hey, anyone out there who still writes letters?
written by Jørn Precht. Claudiusstr.11.D-70197 Stuttgart.GERMANY on January 01, 1997

Even if you're only a Cocteau Twins fan of days gone by, Twinlights merits a listen because it forges new ground - stripped naked - just Elizabeth, a piano, and maybe a drum machine. My favorite, by far, is this version of Half-Gifts. The one on the album sounds like a silly carnival monkey-grinder in comparison. I've cried my eyes out so many times listening to it - very moving! Take a listen: You'll love it, too.
written by Demetri Moshoyannis (QUEERboyDC ) on October 15, 1996

Twinlights is the most compelling Cocteau Twins release to date. The beautiful simplicity gives off energy that can make you cry or sigh in release. Elizabeth's voice is celestine and heartbreaking. The most amazing track on the EP is Rilkean Heart, and the version recorded here filled me with energy and life.
written by Natalie Masters (kjanni@AOL.COM ) on October 02, 1996

"Twinlights" is a reflection of beautiful simplicity. It lacks the prevalent overdubbing and overproduction of recent works. I've always felt that Elizabeth sounds beautiful without a lot of enhancement to her voice, and it was a real treat to hear on this EP.
written by Tim Morrison (stelthbear@aol.com ) on September 25, 1996

This is such a beautiful e.p. Mostly performed by piano, acoustic guitar, & unprocessed vocals, it has the best versions of Pink Orange Red, Rilkeian Heart, and Half Gifts. Also, it is packaged beautifully with flowers and thorns.
written by Michael-Head on September 23, 1996