Former Cocteau Twins' vocalist Elizabeth Fraser has, this week, released new music and announced a new EP under the name of Sun's Signature, a project with her partner Damon Reece. Any fan of the unquantifiable influence of Cocteau Twins knows this is a bloody big deal. Since the band's demise in 1996, Fraser has popped up here and there on the music of others (most notably, Massive Attack's classic 'Teardrop') but has released very little music under her own name.
Partisan Records announced her project out of nowhere in February with drummer Reece, who has played with everyone from Massive Attack to Goldfrapp to Spiritualized to Echo & The Bunnymen and we finally get to hear some of it, the lead single from the self-titled EP called 'Golden Air'. It's a gorgeous slow-burn, like the skin's first contact from morning sun, building with perfection from a gentle triangle strike and chirping birds to gradually give way to trippy instrumentation and, of course, Fraser's notorious knack for sublime, mystic melodics and otherworldly qualities that everyone knows and loves. It literally feels like coming home.
Have a listen below and pen the EP release into your diary - it comes out on Record Store Day, June 18, with a digital release sometime after in July.
Entire foundations of categories of music rest upon the influence of Cocteau Twins. Most notably, they beautifully paved a glittering path for the dream-pop and shoegaze and set a blueprint for all that followed, but their influence extends well beyond, touching on R&B, metal, EDM, folk, ambient and just about anything you can name. They are styles which have found themselves new audiences year after year as contemporary 21st Century artists have carried them forward into decade after decade. Their influence on the likes Slowdive, Ride, Beach House, Hatchie, Sigur Ros, Massive Attack, Goldfrapp, My Bloody Valentine, M83, Bjork, Explosions In The Sky, Deftones and Radiohead is easy to spot, but even the likes of Prince, grindcore heroes Napalm Death and The Weeknd have admitted to listening to their obscure melodies and Robin Guthrie's groundbreaking guitar stylings.
Whether they like it or not, they are woven into the very fabric of music history and are one of the ones, you know the ones - we will often refer to them as the underrated visionaries, the ones who brought the sound but whose influence on others far outweighs any commercial recognition they received.
Fraser had a relationship with Jeff Buckley, even writing and recording the still commercially unreleased duet 'All Flowers in Time Bend Towards the Sun' with him. There is precious little music post-1996 otherwise - she has contributed to music from Jonsí, Peter Gabriel, Massive Attack and, of course, most famously, Massive Attack's 'Teardrop' on which she replaced Madonna.
Still 13 years is a long time in the life of a musician, hearing Elizabeth Fraser's heavenly pipes here on 'Golden Air' is as close to well worth the wait as you can get.