Cocteau Twins: Treasure (1984)

I can't say I have a favorite Cocteau Twins album, as which album I feel like playing really turns on my mood at the time.  But I've always enjoyed Treasure, which is sort of a midway point between the dark, haunting goth of their first couple albums and the brighter, more jangly sound of later works like Blue Bell Knoll.  The album serves up some lush, sparkly tunefulness while still retaining in spots the darker atmospherics of the prior releases.

I do think it's the first Cocteaus album where Elizabeth Fraser wraps her gorgeous vocals and nonsensical manufactured language around what approach actual pop songs, creating the dream pop landscape that would be emulated by countless artists in the years to follow.  The album is highlighted by the delightfully catchy "Lorelei," with Fraser absolutely entrancing on top of the jangly guitars, and closer "Donimo," which after a long synth build-up turns into what sounds like festive Christmas music from another dimension.  But you've also got the perky opening track "Ivo" and the slow and somber (yet still relatively light) "Pandora."  A few of the tracks have that haunting, early Cure-like goth-ish thing going on ("Persephone"), but it's a far cry from the downright oppressive Garlands (which I still like to pull out when I need something particularly moody).

For those put off by Fraser's odd and operatic vocal stylings, it's still not as easy an entry point as the more alt.rock-friendly Blue Bell Knoll or Heaven Or Las Vegas, but it's still approachable and makes for a compelling listen.

Here's someone's homemade video for "Lorelei":
...and some video for "Donimo":

Here's a live take on "Lorelei":