Blue Bell Knoll

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Blue Bell Knoll
Studio album by Cocteau Twins
Released 19 September 1988
Recorded September Sound, Twickenham, England
Genre Dream pop
Length 35:17
Label 4AD
Producer Cocteau Twins
Cocteau Twins chronology
The Moon and the Melodies
Blue Bell Knoll
Heaven or Las Vegas
CD sleeve
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars [1]
The Age (very favourable)[2]
Drowned In Sound (10/10)[3]
Martin C. Strong (7/10)[4]
Pitchfork Media 8.3/10[5]
Robert Christgau (C+)[6]

Blue Bell Knoll (1988) is the fifth album by Scottish band Cocteau Twins.

This was the first LP by the Twins to receive major-label distribution in the USA, as it was originally licensed by Capitol Records from 4AD for North American release. After a period of being out of print while 4AD reclaimed the American distribution rights for their back catalog, the album (along with much of the band's 4AD material) was remastered by Robin Guthrie and reissued in 2003. The album shares its name with a peak in southern Utah called Bluebell Knoll.

Critical reception[edit]

Blue Bell Knoll was listed by Pitchfork Media as the 81st best album of the 1980s, describing it as a return to the band's ethereal style explored on Treasure.[7] It was also appraised as "everything that atmospheric music should be and usually isn't."[2] NME also viewed Blue Bell Knoll positively, placing it at No. 33 for Albums of the Year 1988.[8]

A less favourable response came from Robert Christgau, who criticized the "momentary momentum" of the record's guitar playing, and highlighted its supposedly boring nature: "Ever hear the one about being so open-minded that when you lay down to sleep your brains fall out?"[6] Allmusic reviewer Ned Raggett awarded the album 3 out of 5 stars, saying that "Blue Bell Knoll has some striking moments that are pure Cocteaus at their best" and citing the opening track "Blue Bell Knoll", "For Phoebe Still a Baby", and the U.S. single "Carolyn's Fingers" as highlights,[1] before suggesting that "things slowly but surely slide back a bit" afterwards. Drowned in Sound reviewer Gen Williams disagreed, saying in her 2002 review that "from start to finish, it's a record that gleams with grace and emotion; chiming, mournful guitars and layered tapestry of sounds evoke a vast array of imagery".[3]

Consequence of Sound later described the album as dream pop.[9]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Elizabeth Fraser, Robin Guthrie, and Simon Raymonde

No. Title Length
1. "Blue Bell Knoll"   3:24
2. "Athol-Brose"   2:59
3. "Carolyn's Fingers"   3:08
4. "For Phoebe Still a Baby"   3:16
5. "The Itchy Glowbo Blow"   3:21
6. "Cico Buff"   3:49
7. "Suckling the Mender"   3:35
8. "Spooning Good Singing Gum"   3:52
9. "A Kissed Out Red Floatboat"   4:10
10. "Ella Megalast Burls Forever"   3:39
Total length:



  1. ^ a b Raggett, Ned. "Blue Bell Knoll – Cocteau Twins : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Thieberger, Victoria (28 October 1988). "Best New Albums – Blue Bell Knoll". The Age (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 30 December 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Williams, Gen (5 December 2002). "Cocteau Twins – Blue Bell Knoll". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  4. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2006). The Essential Rock Discography – Volume 1. p. 222. ISBN 1841958271. OCLC 70402621. 
  5. ^ Deusner, Stephen (16 July 2014). "Cocteau Twins: Blue Bell Knoll/Heaven or Las Vegas | Album Reviews". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 16 July 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "Consumer Guide Reviews: Blue Bell Knoll". Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  7. ^ "Top 100 Albums of the 1980s". 
  8. ^ "Albums and Tracks of the Year: 1988". NME. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  9. ^ Comaratta, Leni (27 April 2013). "Dusting ‘Em Off: Cocteau Twins – Blue Bell Knoll". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 6 February 2015. 

External links[edit]