FKA twigs – LP1 (2014)

This album is one that has had the most effect on me this year; not least because it’s so radically different from the music that I enjoyed prior. I feel as though twigs has opened a door for me with LP1, broadening my musical spectrum and making me just that little bit more receptive of music that isn’t messy fuzzy guitar indie. It’s quite masterful, if I’m honest – a true pleasure to soak in from start to finish. Twigs manages to quite intriguingly combine R&B, trip-hop, and electronica, and yet keep a very true and very present sense of musical identity. Some will label her “PBR&B” (or “Hipster R&B”; the “PBR” bit is derived from Pabst Blue Ribbon, the preferred lager of American hipsters, apparently), but I doubt one could ever devise a label that truly fits twigs’ style.

The music is busy, and yet somehow strikingly minimalist at the same time. Each layer has its own duty, but each duty is carried out with a subtlety that leaves you with a gelled and carefully sculpted final product. It has a breathless, weightless sort of beauty about it that I have simply never encountered before in an album. Every track astounds, from the Portishead-esque Lights On, to the ever-swelling climacticism of Two Weeks, to the haunting, almost hymn-like Closer.  Her voice coos, whispers, gently kisses your ear, quivers slightly but remains ever so dexterous and agile, never coming down flat, never missing a beat. LP1 has been written through nothing but sheer intelligence and the purest musical talent, painstakingly thought-out tracks, and a level of production that makes the ears all but sigh with pleasure.

Speaking of which – I’ve also encountered few albums that feature as many songs that seem as baldly about sex as this one. Take, “When I trust you we can do it with the lights on,” from Lights On. Strikes you as a simple line about sexuality, no? Well, twigs herself said in an interview with Pitchfork that that lyric is actually “a metaphor for letting certain people see the different, ugly sides of you that others won’t be able to see,” and that the lyric in truth is about vulnerability and self-image – so apparently thinking that it’s a lyric about aesthetics and sex is a misconception (is there a pun in there somewhere? Ouch). See – everything is thought through, everything has a meaning, and let there be not a shadow of a doubt when I say that FKA twigs is going to be enormous.

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