Tuesday 2 September 2014

Review of 'LP1' by FKA Twigs

I was in the lobby of Colombo airport at 4am when I first listened to this album. I don’t usually listen to albums in such exotic and strange locations, and maybe the setting had an effect on me, but this record truly mesmerised me from start to finish.

2014 has been a great year for rising female solo artists. London born dancer and singer, FKA Twigs, is the latest sensation to come from the underground scene. Apparently there was already a musician out there named Twigs, which is why she’s had to add the ‘FKA’ part (Formerly Known As). We’ll just call her Twigs.

A Danish girl with an unpronounceable name, Mø, released an album earlier this year which sparked my interest for its cold, nocturnal feel. I would lump Twigs under the same style – the instrumentation similarly relies on clicking 808 percussion and touches of ghostly reverb. However, Twigs’ music is undoubtedly more detailed and creative. A lot of meticulous effort has been put into the beats. There are backmasked sounds and tempo changes and all kinds of other eccentricities thrown in to keep the slow ballads, of which this album is entirely comprised of, constantly interesting.

And yet as experimental as this album is, it’s also still accessible to a degree and catchy. Hooks such as ‘when I trust you we can do it with the lights off’ are instantly memorable. The sexual nature of the lyrics definitely helps to build memorability, and some people might view it as gimmicky. However, as sexually explicit as this album is, I feel Twigs manages to maintain a certain level of classiness. Maybe it’s the graceful way in which she carries her soprano voice, or the way in which she leaves so much of it up to multiple interpretations.

Overall, there's little if anything to fault on this record. I haven’t heard pop music this fresh and forward-thinking in a long time. I usually hate this soft, ballady stuff, but here there’s so much ever-changing detail per song that there’s never a moment goes by that feels redundant.