FKA Twigs - LP1 - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

FKA Twigs - LP1

by Nse Ette Rating:9.5 Release Date:2014-08-12

Twenty-six-year-old London songstress FKA twigs first piqued our interest with her pair of EPs comprising other-worldly, shape-shifting sounds. Songs like ‘Ache’ from EP1 or ‘How's That’ from EP2 set her airy, entrancing vocals to shuddering bass and unsettling percussion. Aaliyah and Björk are two names which pop up often in comparison, the former vocally, and the latter sonically and visually, especially regarding Twig's striking videos.

All this has raised expectations of her full-length debut to a fever-pitch, almost like the second coming. Most will find this a difficult listen at first, but twigs' strong personality shines through, as do her sensitive vocals which show strength in restraint. In fact, restraint is the only extravagance on this musical adventure.

Amid the stuttered beats, meandering synths and weird flourishes of ‘Lights On’ is a lovely sultry, futuristic R&B tune with the chorus "When I trust you/ we can do it with the lights on", and some sprinklings of guitar at the end. Lead single ‘Two Weeks’ is slinky, with twigs boasting "I can fuck you better than her" as she teases a man in a sexless relationship, sounding seductive yet vulnerable at the same time against the swelling synth backdrop. This pair of songs are the only times LP1 approaches any semblance of radio friendliness. Atypical structuring rules for much of the album.

And lust features prominently in her lyrics. "I could kiss you for hours," she coos on the minimal ‘Hours’, which winds down vocally at the end like a tape slowing down. The hesitant ‘Pendulum’ has glitchy beats which shut off and start unexpectedly with trippy synths and effects. ‘Video Girl’ ebbs and flows, with irregular drum patterns and sporadic stabs of bass giving an ominous feel. Her English accent is noticeable when she pronounces ‘Chance’, adding to the allure.

The woozy ‘Closer’ has a hymnal feel with disembodied, choral-style vocals, while on closing cut ‘Kicks’, she sings "I don't need you/ I love my touch/ I know just what to do/ so I'll tell myself it's cool to get my kicks like you," recalling Janet Jackson vocally but with more nuance.

Twigs is very hands on, heavily involved in her videos, as well as penning and co-producing the album. Production credits also include fellow boundary-pushing Brit Dev Hynes (Solange Knowles, Theophilus London); Arca; Sampha; Emile Haynie (Eminem, Bruno Mars); and Paul Epworth (Adele), all of whom twigs says helped "fill in my blanks in things I'm not good at".

Every once in a while, along comes an artist who changes the game with everyone else scrambling to follow. LP1 is a calm and sensual attack on the senses which will leave one in total surrender. The Mercurys should be on the alert.

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