Studio album by Cocteau Twins
Released 1 September 1982
Recorded 1981–1982
Studio Blackwing Studios, London, England
Length 35:09
Label 4AD
Cocteau Twins chronology

Garlands is the debut studio album by Scottish alternative rock band Cocteau Twins, released 1 September 1982 on 4AD.[1] It peaked in the top 5 of the UK Independent Albums Chart, and received support from BBC Radio 1 radio host John Peel.[2]


Garlands is the only album the band recorded with original bassist Will Heggie. Gordon Sharp of Cindytalk provided backup vocals on "Dear Heart", "Hearsay Please", and "Hazel".

Billboard described the album as "dark post-punk".[3] The album's sound was described in The Rough Guide to Rock as "a blend of ominous pulsating bass, stark TR808 drums, cyclical guitar and great screeching arcs of reverberating feedback, over which Liz alternated dry, brittle utterings with full-power vocal gymnastics".[4]


The original British cassette release included four additional tracks from a John Peel radio session. The original British, Brazilian and Canadian CD releases featured the album, the Peel session and two other tracks that were recorded for an unreleased single, which was to have been the band's first release. The four Peel Session recordings were later released as BBC Sessions in 1999.

A remastered version of "Blind Dumb Deaf" was included on the 2000 compilation Stars and Topsoil, a version of "Hazel" appeared on the band's Peppermint Pig EP, released in 1983, and a remixed version of "Wax and Wane" was included on the 1985 compilation The Pink Opaque.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Rolling Stone[6]
Martin C. Strong7/10[7]

In its review of the album, AllMusic was generally critical, writing that "Garlands falters due to something the band generally avoided in the future – overt repetition. [...] As a debut effort, though, Garlands makes its own curious mark, preparing the band for greater heights".[5]

Spin wrote that the album "[sounds] like Siouxsie and the Banshees with echo and smeared mascara",[9] and some contemporary critics unfavorably compared the album to the Banshees. In the Richard King book How Soon is Now?: The Madmen and Mavericks Who Made Independent Music 1975-2005, Cocteau Twins roadie Collin Wallace recalled, "Garlands was written off in the UK as another Siouxsie copy band, and Elisabeth [Fraser] was a huge Siouxsie fan. She had huge Siouxsie tattoos which she's had lasered off since".[10]

Sounds critic Helen Fitzgerald wrote, "The fact of the matter is that the album is bloody good. A fluid frieze of wispy images made all the more haunting by Elizabeth's distilled vocal maturity, fluctuating from a brittle fragility to a voluble dexterity with full range and power".[8]

Track listing

All tracks written by Cocteau Twins (Elizabeth Fraser, Robin Guthrie, Will Heggie).

1."Blood Bitch" (printed as "Blood Bath")4:34
2."Wax and Wane"4:02
3."But I'm Not"2:42
4."Blind Dumb Deaf"3:45
5."Shallow Then Halo" (printed as "Shallow Then Hallo" [sic] on the sleeve)5:14
6."The Hollow Men"5:00
8."Grail Overfloweth"5:22




  1. "Cocteau Twins: 'Garlands'". 4AD website. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  2. "History". Cocteau Twins. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  3. Bambarger, Bradley (6 April 1996). "Radio Climate Could Boost Capitol's Cocteau Twins". Billboard: 14. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  4. Hall, Link; Canadine, Ian (2003). Buckley, Peter, ed. The Rough Guide to Rock. Rough Guides. p. 212. ISBN 9781843531050. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  5. 1 2 Raggett, Ned. "Garlands – Cocteau Twins : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
  6. Brackett, David; Hoard, Christian David, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon and Schuster. p. 174. ISBN 9780743201698. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  7. "[Unknown title]". The Essential Rock Discography – Volume 1: 222. 2006.
  8. 1 2 Fitzgerald, Helen (1982). "[Garlands review]". Sounds.
  9. Hermes, Will (September 2003). "Reissues". Spin. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  10. King, Richard (2012). How Soon is Now?: The Madmen and Mavericks who made Independent Music 1975-2005. Faber & Faber. ISBN 0571243908.
  11. "Equipment Notes". Robin Guthrie. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
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