If I had to pick any one band that influenced my bass and guitar styles the most, inspired numerous plot ideas and settings for my early writings, and always calmed my teenage soul late at night, it would definitely be Cocteau Twins.
I absolutely adored the layered, chiming and heavily echoed guitars of Robin Guthrie, the dual-tone melodies of bassist Simon Raymonde (and even the dissonant meanderings of original bassist Will Heggie, who went on to be part of the band Lowlife), and the otherworldly vocalizations of Elizabeth Fraser.
They were My Bloody Valentine at a much lower volume. They were Felt with a hell of a lot more ambience. They were goth without the pretension and imagery. And they were one of the biggest anchors of the classic 80s sound of the 4AD record label. When all the music critics described their sound as pastoral, autumnal or dreamlike, they really weren’t trying to be over the top. They really did sound like the Scottish Highlands on a cool and foggy morning, or a late October in foliage-laden New England.
If you haven’t given them a close listen, especially their dreamier 80s output, I highly suggest it. It’s quite lovely.