And so to what now appears to be the final Cocteau Twins' album. 1996's 'Milk & Kisses' saw a return to a more vibrant sound and Fraser's unintelligible lyrics. Strangely, for a finale, the mood is largely celebratory as a band soon to call it a day seem more alive than ever in both invention and demeanour.
The opening storm of 'Violaine' is surely one of the heaviest records they have made; an explosion of drama and crashing effects and one which isn't quite representative of the remainder of the record. Better is 'Serpentskirt'; constructed from aching walls of guitar wizardry and Fraser's sighs at their most appealing and despairing. Moving towards the concluding songs, 'Treasure Hiding' begins quietly but soon builds into a trademark exultant chorus whilst 'Seekers Who Are Lovers' is darkly euphoric. In between, happiness is prevalent; Fraser sings of feeling "a deep connection" on first single 'Tishbite', 'Calfskin Smack' is a blissful jangle-fest but the real killer moment is 'Ups'; a track which seems to be part pop and part opera, such is the quality of the beautifully layered harmonies and the enrapturing melody. Granted, 'Milk & Kisses' isn't quite up there with 'Blue Bell Knoll' or 'Heaven Or Las Vegas' but even here the Cocteaus' distinctive sound has retained its magic and can still delight those hearing their music for the first time.