Robin Guthrie album review: the Cocteau Twins pioneer is back!

It’s been a tough few years. If you need head space, pearldiving by Robin Guthrie is worth your time.

“As ever, I play everything…” – Robin Guthrie

40 years since Cocteau Twins burst onto the scene, Robin Guthrie has been busy with film scores, collaborations, producing, engineering, and remixing.

Lockdown gave Guthrie the time and (head)space to work on his own record, nine years after the last. He explained how and why it came about: “After Another Flower, released just a few days before the untimely passing of my friend and co-conspirator Harold Budd, I felt the need to break my studio down and build it up again afresh to clear my head…This is my first instrumental album since Fortune and I guess I had some feelings to process.”

Robin Guthrie
Photo credit: Violette Guthrie

As well as playing everything, Guthrie recorded, mixed, and mastered pearldiving. His studio is in Brittany, France, so it’s no surprise that Gallic influences permeate the song titles. But how does the album sound?

ivy starts out gentle and dreamy until an abrupt stop rouses us from reverie ready for another thoughtful piece, ouestern.

castaway is pretty stunning from the get-go, evoking desert winds and solitude, then building to a burst of energy before subsiding again.

on the trail of grace is louder and more insistent, but pure complete contemplation returns for les amourettes (which translates as love affairs). The pure vibe continues with euphemia and oceanaire.

As the name implies, presence builds, then kerosine shimmers. The album ends in the amber room, the most textured piece. Layered guitars and effects swirl one last time.

It’s been a tough few years. If you need head space courtesy of accomplished, relaxing, meditative music (without panpipes and whale song!), then pearldiving is worth your time.

Pearldiving by Robin Guthrie is out on Soleil Apres Minuit on November 12, 2021.

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