Cocteau Twins / Treasure Hiding: The Fontana Years / 4CD box set

Universal Music will, in October, issue Treasure Hiding: The Fontana Years, a four-CD box set that brings together the Cocteau Twins last two albums, recorded for the Fontana label, along with associated B-sides, EPs and radio sessions.

1993’s Four Calendar Cafe and Milk & Kisses from 1996 are the two albums in question. The bonus discs gather together non-album tracks from EPs such as Snow, Evangeline and Twinlights and seven songs performed at BBC radio sessions.

The set was mastered at Abbey Road (by Alex Gordon) from the original tapes and approved by Robin Guthrie. It was designed by James Issacs and includes a 24-page booklet with sleeve notes from Chris Roberts.

Treasure Hiding: The Fontana Years is released on 12 October 2018.

CD1: Four-Calendar Café

  1. Know Who You Are at Every Age
  2. Evangeline
  3. Bluebeard
  4. Theft, And Wandering Around Lost
  5. Oil of Angels
  6. Squeeze-Wax
  7. My Truth
  8. Essence
  9. Summerhead
  10. Pur

CD2: Milk & Kisses

  1. Violaine
  2. Serpentskirt
  3. Tishbite
  4. Half-Gifts
  5. Calfskin Smack
  6. Rilkean Heart
  7. Ups
  8. Eperdu
  9. Treasure Hiding
  10. Seekers Who Are Lovers

CD3: Singles, EPs & Radio Sessions

  1. Mud and Dark – Evangeline
  2. Summer-blink – Evangeline
  3. Winter Wonderland – Snow EP
  4. Frosty the Snowman – Snow EP
  5. Three Swept – Bluebeard Single
  6. Ice-Pulse – Bluebeard Single
  7. Bluebeard (Acoustic Version) – Bluebeard Single
  8. Rilkean Heart – Twinlights
  9. Golden-Vein – Twinlights
  10. Pink Orange Red – Twinlights
  11. Half-Gifts – Twinlights
  12. Feet Like Fins – Otherness
  13. Seekers Who Are Lovers – Otherness
  14. Violaine – Otherness
  15. Cherry Coloured Funk – Otherness (Seefeel Remix)
  16. Tishbite – Tishbite
  17. Primitive Heart – Tishbite
  18. Flock of Soul – Tishbite
  19. Round – Tishbite
  20. An Elan – Tishbite


CD4: Singles, EPs & Radio Sessions

  1. Smile – Violaine
  2. Tranquil Eye – Violaine
  3. Circling Girl – Violaine
  4. Alice – Violaine
  5. Circling Girl – Volume Track
  6. Touch Upon Touch – Volume Track
  7. Serpentskirt – Mark Radcliffe Session, 12 March 1996
  8. Golden-Vein – Mark Radcliffe Session, 12 March 1996
  9. Half-Gifts – Mark Radcliffe Session, 12 March 1996
  10. Seekers Who Are Lovers – Mark Radcliffe Session, 12 March 1996
  11. Calfskin Smack – Robert Elms Session, 10 April 1996
  12. Fifty-Fifty Clown – Robert Elms Session, 10 April 1996
  13. Violaine – Robert Elms Session, 10 April 1996

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My copy of Four-Calendar Café from the Treasure Hiding box has the channels reversed. Checked it against three other versions and I’m sad to report it’s true.

Mark Turrell

IMO the Fontana years were not terrible, but they were not moving forward either, just treading water.
One thing that i’ve never seen released is a partial live concert for radio 1 from around 1993. I was at a show at Rock City in Nottingham, where they stopped the show because they were waiting for a cue to go live to Radio 1. Never seen that come out yet.


FYI – Cocteau Twins ‘Treasure Hiding: The Fontana Years’ is on Spotify if you want a pre-purchase listen.


Rough Trade were doing this for £19.99 as a pre-order, at that price I was in:) No postage as I’m lucky enough to be able to collect at the Bristol shop.

harry krishna

i see a good coverage on spotify, but not this.

Evet Socrates

I’m looking forward to hearing these new remasters done at Abbey Road! I’ve remastered plenty of tracks myself, restoring the videos and bootleg concerts for my Cocteau Twins channel on Youtube- https://www.youtube.com/user/CocteauBuff/
I’ve loved every CT album just as much, and I still feel “Milk and Kisses” is one of the finest Rock albums of all time.


These aren’t new remasters both Four-Calendar Café and Milk and Kisses are the 2006 remasters.


I am very cautious when it comes to “remasters” made by Universal. They often sound clipped and with totally destroyed dynamics = brickwalled! I will let this one go. The example of “From Lullabies to Violane” would do enough!


Why isn’t the Liz Frazer/Faye Wong duet version of Serpentskirt included? It should be on the second “extras” CDs…

Andy Renwick

I looked for that also.. this seems to be another Lullabies to Violaine rehash! A shame really!


I agree with Renata – Faye Wong / CT duet version of “Serpentskirt” is essential…. Along with the other Faye covers of CT songs. How about releasing ALL of them for the Western market, including the live versions? She was with Universal, if I remember correctly…


yes I know Dan, I bought them too!

+1 for a 4AD vinyl boxset

David McIntyre

I think Four Calendar Café is an absolutely sublime album. I’ll probably buy this


“Guthrie approved mastering”does not instill confidence.


Totally agree he destroyed his back catalogue with those horrible remasters.


I love cocteau twins but this box contains nothing new. I would expect live album instead or some demos if IT exist somewhere in vaults. I think ill skip it

Dr Volume

Simon Raymonde writes a regular column in Long Live Vinyl magazine and occasionally talks about his days as a Cocteau Twin. He describes how CT didn’t demo tracks, they wrote in the studio and used everything they recorded. He says “in 14 years, we had no spare tracks, no half-finished songs that never made it onto the albums; there is nothing left over”.
So this box is really about rounding up those singles and b sides which are all long out of print for those who haven’t already got them, I agree some live soundboard recordings would be interesting though.

Dr Volume

Cocteau fans who stopped at 4AD definitely need this! I agree this stuff is underrated particularly ‘Four Calendar Cafe’ and the ‘Otherness’ EP is superb, a magical collaboration with Mark Clifford from Seefeel a legendary post-rock band who specialised in mixing Aphex Twin/Autechre style electronica with a live guitar band – (around 8 years before Radiohead made Kid A).

Wax Monster X

I also had the pleasure of working with Rob Deacon. My import distribution company in America dealt with Volume direct and he was a true music fan and sterling gentleman. I once mentioned what a fan of Sweatbox and Abstract I was and he mentioned that he had a load of old stuff in his attic from those days if I wanted it. The next shipment from him to cross the big pond was packed with white labels, leftover stocks, memorabilia and more. Wow! RIP Rob. You are missed.


What?! Can I pillage your house? haha… I was very much a completist of Sweatbox and Abstract. There was something special about those releases. In addition to the Volume comps, it was In The Nursery that led me to Sweatbox. I’m still an ITN completist.


Any word on a US release?


This is all beautiful music, but if I’m not mistaken, virtually all of the non-album material is on either Lullabies To Violaine and the BBC Sessions set. I’ll probably only pick up a copy if I hear good things about the remastering.

I’ve never understood why so many fans dismiss this era of the Twins. They made some of their absolute best music during this time: Pur, Alice, the acoustic version of Half-Gifts, Seekers Who Are Lovers (in all of its forms), etc.


I agree that the final years include some of the band’s best music. They were in peak form at the very end. Thankfully it was a fairly prolific time, if you count the extra songs on EPs, singles, and soundtracks.

They could have included “Need-Fire” from the Judge Dredd soundtrack as an extra lure. I think I own everything here already, but it’s nice to have the end commemorated this way.


Well… I already have every track on this box set in its original release which should be a reason to pass it by. Also, two tracks are missing: Need-Fire (Judge Dredd soundtrack) and Serpentskirt (feat. Faye Wong, released in the Milk & Kisses Hong Kong version). How I wish they had included the White Room Live version of Seekers Who Are Lovers… that’s an amazing one! So well, almost nothing new here except for the new art and the fact that is a new remaster (I didn’t like the 2006 Robin Guthrie remasters, they’re so loud!).
…Being a fan I know the end of the story =)


‘Alice’ just might be the most beautiful, haunting song the ‘Teaus ever did.


For my money these are the two sleeper albums in the Cocteau Twins catalog. I don’t play them as much but they do have their charms as do the EPs. It would be nice to have the other miscellaneous cuts as I’m not enough of a completist to have picked them up at the time. I used to manage a record store in the 80s and 90s and the night before the new releases went on sale I’d stay late at work with a six pack and put out all the CDs for sale the next morning, listening to them as I worked. I have fond memories of spinning “Snow” for the first time…


The only merit to this (and the Extended Ultravox release) is that all the tracks are in one place. Does that justify £22? Just possibly… but given that I already have the 4AD single compilation, the Sessions double CD, the Volume compilations and the 2 RSD LP’s do I really need them all again?

I also think the two versions of Circling Girl are the same.. I could never identify any difference between the Volume version and the Violaine. Sitting on the fence on this one.


The intro of Circling Girl tracks are really different, though most of the song is quite similar.


i might add that a slight pitch makes the sound of the so-called “original mix” a bit higher than the EP version

Chris Lancaster

Bought as soon as I read this. I was a huge fan of their 1980s output, and have great memories of seeing them live in my student days. For reasons I can’t remember I stopped following them religiously after they left 4AD; a few years ago I listened to the Fontana albums for the first time in ages, and was baffled as to why I hadn’t played them in years as they are both excellent.

Great to have the Volume tracks on the compilation. Just about nobody I know remembers Volume, and I wish they would get reissued. I still own them all, but some of the CDs haven’t aged well; two of them are unplayable. I don’t know if they were printed cheaply to keep the cost down to that of a normal CD album even though they came with the thick CD-sized book, or if I’ve stored them badly. The first two or three especially were superb compilations, as were the Trance Europe Express outings.

Paul English

I have a complete run of Volumes (17) plus 5 Trance Europe Expresses. Although I am missing the cardboard slipcases on the TEEs. Brilliant sets and great writing.


I had the honour of helping Rob Deacon get Volune off the ground. I’d been a big fan of his label (Sweatbox – Meat Beat Manifesto, In The Nursey etc) and his previous audio/visual magazine (Abstract) and signed him to a manufacturing and distribution deal at the record distributor I worked for which gave him the funding he needed to get it off the ground. I saw the first half dozen or so issues through before I moved on to work at a label (but then got some tracks/bands in later issues).
So nice to see Volume written about so warmly.
Rob was a great guy and much missed.


+1 on an unplayable CT product. I cracked the wrap on my Box Set a few years ago and found all the color inserts in the single cases had bled onto the discs and left all but 1 unplayable. An email to Beggars in the UK did not result in me getting any replacements (I was willing to pay) but they did send me both ‘Lullabies to Violaine volumes for free in lieu. Very nice but looking forward to any CT re-releases.


I have a few volume compilations. Haven’t played them for a few years. Will have to check them out .Maybe yours have suffered from cd bronzing. A lot of uk cds from that era do


No bronzing; I have a lot of early PDO but only 2 Marc Almond are unplayable. This is the color somehow ‘leeching’ onto the discs. Even disc has roughly the same colors as its insert. I’ve now turned all the my CD singles in the cases label in. I think Ill try my first gen Sony Discman as that brick seems to play everything and maybe I can rip them.


now this band in 5.1. That would be something! :)

Simon Thornhill

Four Calendar Cafe and Milk and Kisses, were indeed reissued on coloured vinyl (FCC Blue + M&K White)
Whilst FCC included all on thee associated singles bsides on the second disc.
Milk & Kisses is missing three tracks from its second disc. Namely Round An Elan & Circling Girl. Which is bitterly dissappointing,
.It would have been so good to have all of those amazing tracks brougt together on one vimyl
Maybe now 4AD, will get their act together and produce a comprehensive 4AD era boxset, to celebrate and honour the legacy of this incredible unique and beautiful band.

Lee Taylor

“Milk & Kisses is missing three tracks from its second disc. Namely Round An Elan & Circling Girl. Which is bitterly dissappointing…”

Tracks 3-19, 3-20, and 4-3, according to the info above.

Simon Thornhill

Hi lee
I was referring to the RSD18 Vinyl reissue of Milk and Kisses


Pre-ordered straight away, I was stuck in the 4AD era for a long time when discovering this band 10 years ago, I only recently gave the Fontana albums a chance, and they do not disappoint, the song, Treasure Hiding is up there as one of their best.


Exactly Dan! Treasure Hiding is one of their best tracks.My personal fav on M&K. I have always preferred the Fontana albums.They ended with their finest.


I have the two Lullabies To Violaine cds. I thought they were pretty good. My favorite CC period was the 1984-90 era.


Although I’m not a CT completist, I do own almost everything released and from what I can see almost all the extras on this set appear either on Lullabies to Violaine, Vol. 2, or on the second disc of the BBC Sessions set. The only exception is “Touch upon Touch.”

Anthony James

This looks really good especially with the Volume tracks being included.

It’s just a shame there’s no Need Fire from the Judge Dredd soundtrack – that’s a good song!

Tracey Spivey

On the surface, this looks like a nice release. I’ll be interested to see if it is complete in the sense of including all of the b-sides and non-album tracks from the era. Will also be interested in seeing if any of the radio sessions weren’t included on the BBC Sessions release from a few years ago.


Nice, I never bought the last two albums for whatever reason so this seems like a good reason. Is anything previously unreleased?


Excellent! Shame there’s no vinyl though


There were vinyl pressings of these albums with b-sides released on Record Store Day 2017.


Unlike their albums for 4AD, their output for Fontana seems to have been OOP for years… so for those who, like me, have discovered the band in recent times, this is a very welcome release.