Arriving at our 13th installment in the Cocteau Twins journey, fatigue comes to mind with a full length record that is both pleasant and joyous as it is consistent and routine. The sparkle is either missing from the record or myself. Put simply, Blue Bell Knoll failed to rope me with a lack of surprise within the musical idea portrayed. It is however a spirited pivot away from the Ethereal and dark that often lures me in. The majority of its ten tracks focus on bright, appeasing melodies that twinkle between the cracks in their hazy aesthetics. Simple song design and easily indulged moods make it a rather inviting record despite not feeling much deeper than its surface.
Two of its songs do hint an electronic element but alone with this duo, the experiment is brief. The title and opening track beefs up its bongo led percussive track with a synth tone to give of some subtle difference. It emerges boldly again on A Kissed Out Red Floatboat with an unmistakable likeness to Kraftwerk's The Man Machine main melody. The busying notes of osculating wave synth bustle their way through the song like a happy accident. Not adding anything in particular to the song but just coincidentally matching the musics key and peaking audibility when the other instruments quiet.
I could describe once again the details of these band mates contributions but I would be recycling my words. Its as one would expect from the trio with Fraiser finding her most quiet yet fitting performance. She dances through these songs effortlessly yet her presence doesn't have the punch her tricky annunciations on Treasure would. All in all its a reasonable effort but lacking a spark to distinguish itself in the shadow of their great works of musical art that came before.