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Fans of the unique, highly acclaimed British Dream-Pop/Shoegaze trio Cocteau Twins (who dispanded in 1996) were hoping for years that the iconic Indie band would reunite sooner or later, but all hope finally seemed extinguished when they resisted the lure of a lucrative live performance at the Coachella Festival. In recent interviews, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Simon Raymonde confirmed the implausibility of a reunion, referring to the “complex relationship” between the other two group members, guitarist/keyboardist Robin Guthrie and lead singer Elizabeth Frazer, who used to be a couple.
Fortunately, the end of Cocteau Twins ultimately didn’t stop Simon Raymonde from exploring soundscapes similar to those of his old band: as one member of the duo Snowbird, he finally wrote and recorded 2014’s Cocteau Twins-esque Moon –- all of Eighteen years after the last Cocteau Twins album, Milk & Kisses. And why shouldn’t he? After all, for years, on various solo outings, Robin Guthrie mined a musical territory even closer to Cocteau Twins’ signature sound.
But whereas Robin Guthrie’s recordings are instrumental, Simon Raymonde teamed up with American singer-songwriter Stephanie Dosen whose voice/soprano bears more than a passing resemblance to Cocteau Twins singer Elizabeth Frazer. Stephanie Dosen’s phrasing is more down-to-earth than Elizabeth Frazer’s decidedly more theatrical singing style –- and Snowbird’s songwriting is piano-based as opposed to Cocteau Twins reverb-drenched guitar textures -– but even so, the similarities are still quite striking, largely due to the angelic, ethereal, multi-tracked vocals that adorn these elegant and wistful songs.
Moon is an apt title for a collection of songs all shrouded in a dreamlike mist, an album that exudes an air of mystery and spellbinds with its magical, hypnotizing ambience. All Wishes Are Ghosts floats on a feather-light, lilting melody, carried by subtle drums and what sounds like understated flute. Charming Birds From Trees, Amelia, and the exquisite Porcelain are all delicate, entrancing piano ballads, the latter in particular is breathtakingly beautiful and quite irresistible. The gorgeous, gently uplifting Bears On My Trail is composed in a Waltz-like time signature, and if Where Foxes Hide had been recorded by Midlake, it wouldn’t have sounded out of place on either of the band’s two latest albums, 2010’s The Courage Of Others and 2013’s Antiphon. Moon was released on Simon Raymonde’s own record label Bella Union, the home of numerous critically lauded Indie acts, some of whom appear here as guest musicians, including Jonathan Wilson, and Eric Pulido and McKenzie Smith of Midlake.