Head over Heels (Cocteau Twins album)

Head over Heels is the second studio album by Scottish alternative rock band Cocteau Twins. The album was released in October 1983 by 4AD, and was their first album as a duo of Elizabeth Fraser and Robin Guthrie. It featured the band's signature sound of "Guthrie’s lush guitars under Fraser’s mostly wordless vocals" and is considered an archetype of early ethereal wave music.[1]

Head over Heels
Cocteau Twins, Head Over Heels (Alternative cover).jpg
Studio album by
Released31 October 1983
StudioPalladium Studios, Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Cocteau Twins
Cocteau Twins chronology
Peppermint Pig
Head over Heels
Sunburst and Snowblind
Alternative cover
Alternative cover
Alternative cover


Ned Raggett in The Guardian wrote that Fraser's singing was more direct in the mix than it had been on the band's first album, Garlands, and although her lyrics were still often understandable, she "began to shift away from conventional vocabulary towards enigmatic, emotional sound" on Head Over Heels.[2] Writing for The Quietus, journalist Julian Marszalek said that with this album, "Fraser’s voice became just as much an instrument" as those played by her musicians", including Guthrie's "multi-layered and heavily reverberated guitars".[3] He also remarked: "'In Our Angelhood' probably fits the bill best and it's a track that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Siouxsie and the Banshees' Kaleidoscope". "The Tinderbox (Of a Heart)" conveys a sense of menace and danger, while the closing track "Musette and Drums" features sweeping guitars and chimes.[3] Cam Lindsay of Exclaim! wrote that ""Multifoiled" has a phlegmatic rockabilly lean to it, "In Our Angelhood" is both post-punk and proto-shoegaze, and the dizzying "Sugar Hiccup" could singlehandedly be the conception of dream pop."[4]

Release and receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [5]
The Great Rock Discography8/10[6]
Mojo     [7]
Record Collector     [8]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [9]
Smash Hits8/10[10]
Spin Alternative Record Guide6/10[11]

Head over Heels was released on 31 October 1983 by 4AD. The original United Kingdom and Canadian cassette and CD of Head over Heels, and the Brazilian CD versions, also included the Sunburst and Snowblind EP. The 2003 CD, remastered by Guthrie, did not include the EP.

The album was well-received by John Peel, who played the entire record on his radio show.[4]

Head over Heels was ranked at No. 7 in Sounds magazine's End of Year List for 1983.[13]

In 2003, the album was named one of the most eccentric British albums of all time by Mojo magazine.[14]

In March 2018, the album was repressed on 180g vinyl using new masters created from high definition files transferred from the original analogue tapes.[15]

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Cocteau Twins (Elizabeth Fraser and Robin Guthrie).

Side A
1."When Mama Was Moth"3:06
2."Five Ten Fiftyfold"4:59
3."Sugar Hiccup"3:42
4."In Our Angelhood"2:59
5."Glass Candle Grenades"2:44
Side B
1."In the Gold Dust Rush"3:41
2."The Tinderbox (Of a Heart)"4:57
4."My Love Paramour"3:39
5."Musette and Drums"4:39


Cocteau Twins

Additional personnel


Chart performance for Head over Heels
Chart (1983) Peak
UK Albums (OCC)[16] 51


  1. ^ MTV News Staff: "In 1983, Heggie left the band, and the group recorded Head Over Heels as a duo. The album was highly improvised and is the first recording to feature the Twins’ signature sound — Guthrie’s lush guitars under Fraser’s mostly wordless vocals. The group became a trio again when bassist Simon Raymonde joined in 1984. Later that year, they released Treasure, an album that hit No. 29 on the UK charts and cemented the band’s ethereal sound.", Cocteau Twins short biography, January 4, 1998
  2. ^ Raggett, Ned (24 February 2016). "Cocteau Twins – 10 of the best". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  3. ^ a b Marszalek, Julian (11 November 2013). "30 Years On: Cocteau Twins' Head Over Heels Revisited". Thequietus`. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
  4. ^ a b Lindsay, Cam (10 June 2015). "An Essential Guide to Cocteau Twins". Exclaim!. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  5. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Head Over Heels – Cocteau Twins". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
  6. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2006). The Essential Rock Discography (1 ed.). Canongate Books. p. 222. ISBN 1-84195-827-1. OCLC 70402621.
  7. ^ Cameron, Keith (May 2018). "Cocteau Twins: Head Over Heels". Mojo (294): 109.
  8. ^ Atkins, Jamie (March 2018). "Cocteau Twins – Head Over Heels, Treasure". Record Collector (477). Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  9. ^ Considine, J. D. (2004). "Cocteau Twins". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 174–75. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  10. ^ Stockton, Peter (10–23 November 1983). "Cocteau Twins: Head Over Heels (4AD)". Smash Hits: 17.
  11. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  12. ^ Bonner, Michael (May 2018). "Cocteau Twins: Head Over Heels / Treasure". Uncut (252): 44.
  13. ^ "Sounds End Of Year Lists". Rock List Music. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
  14. ^ "Top 50 UK Eccentric Albums". Music List NL. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
  15. ^ "Cocteau Twins : 'Head Over Heels' and 'Treasure' Represses". 4ad. 16 January 2018. Archived from the original on 7 July 2018. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  16. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 8 June 2021.

External linksEdit