Elizabeth Fraser | Moses EP
Most Likely To: not be appearing on Rock Band anytime soon.
Elizabeth Fraser occupies that rarefied air in criticdom. Aside from maybe Neil Young, only do The Cocteau Twins elicit waves of praise from bloggers to music junkies alike. The praise rivals Rolling Stone’s mystifying boner for any Yoko Ono record. For having being broken up since 1996, The Cocteau Twins are still used as a barometer in any number of reviews.
(Here, I should also make a confession on behalf of my music critic brethren: while we generally love The Cocteau Twins’ music, we have no fucking clue what Elizabeth was singing about.) Fraser voiced Massive Attack’s “Tear Drop” in ’98 and toured with the outfit in 2006. Her recorded output since “Tear Drop” has been inconsistent, and generally small in scale.
After years, the hallelujahs have been answered. The good news is Fraser has returned with this three-track EP. The bad news is that is all the same damn song: one original version and two remixes. “Moses” is inspired by the passing of close friend and former Echo and the Bunnymen keyboardist Jake Brockman, and begins with an accordion that situates one in the frame of mind of a French café… A French café where Fraser just happens to be singing, her voice and approach unmistakable, even after all these years. The music certainly isn’t as lush and layered as the Cocteau’s, but Frazer wraps her trademark delivery around the melody as it twists and turns. She sounds in fine form, even if you can’t tell what the bloody hell she is saying.
The Thighpaulsandra remix edges a bit toward the more electronic. There is a new melody in the beginning and a few more keyboard tricks are sprinkled throughout. The vocal mix largely remains untouched and there’s an almost Middle Eastern interlude in the middle of the song. The Spaceland remix features a dark and Gothic intro that will put many in the mind of Black Tape for a Blue Girl. More emphasis is placed on the vocal as it glides over atmospheric echoes.
Fraser is always welcomed back like an old friend and Moses will keep Cocteau fans happy. Fraser is already hinting at a full length, so until (or if) that time arrives, Moses will is a small offering so stem our hunger.