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Album Review: FKA Twigs ‘LP1’

Words by Scenewave Australia - Published on August 13, 2014

Words by Krissy Bryant

British vocalist and producer FKA Twigs (aka Tahliah Barnett) has recently released her debut full-length album, LP1– and it’s undeniably something to be excited about. Twigs’ reluctance to conform and curiosity to experiment means her music is difficult to be limited to one genre, but instead a combination of experimental-trip-hop/ indie-electronica/alternative-R&B.

Imagine being dipped into a giant pot of oozy synth covered in layers of melting vocals – this is exactly the feeling you experience in the opening track, Preface. The warped lyrics, “I love another, and thus I hate myself” echo through the distorted drum beat to create the perfect introduction to the ten track album.

The album progresses into Lights On– a sultry track which explores the vulnerability and timidity within a relationship in it’s early stages. The track evolves into a haunting hook with lyrics “When I trust you, we can do it with the lights on.” The theme of promiscuity continues onto Two Weeks, an attempt to woo a man out of a non-intimate relationship. Staggered airy vocals and droning synth flower into what could perhaps be best described as a trip-hop ballad. I feel that Twigs one of the few artists around that can drip with seduction while singing “higher than a mother-fucker.”

This promiscuous production of Hours makes it apparent the album is a storyboard- we are delving into Barnett’s dreamy, kaleidoscopic thoughts as she explores the stages of a relationship. The album takes an emotional and experimental lift with Pendulum, in which disjointed and hesitant taps tip-toe around soaring vocals. This track addresses the struggle with insecurity and heartache involved in relationships, with lyrics, “so lonely trying to be yours, what a forsaken cause. So lonely trying to be yours, when you’re looking for so much more.”

Video Girl is a self-reflection, an acknowledgment of her recent rise to fame. She comments (laments?) on being pulled up on the street as “the girl that’s from the video” (if you weren’t aware, Twigs is a super talented dancer and has featured on film clips for Jessie J, Ed Sheeran, Kylie Minogue and more.) She desires to be recognised for her musical talent through layers of down-tempo synth and fragmented drum beats, elevated by cooling vocals.

“Was I just a number to you?” begins the experimental and inquisitive Numbers, a track that undoubtedly demonstrates Twigs’ vocal ability and versatility. Interpretations of regret and hurt weaves throughout this gem of a piece.

Dreamy vibes are freely distributed by track eight, Closer. Vocal layer upon layer generates an almost-gospel soundscape. This track feels more like an interlude than a full track, as it floats along, with no rise or climax. (a clever insinuation by Twigs or just coincidence?)

The dream-pop continues with Give Up, delivering a melancholy, yet up-beat ambiance which glimmers dark and light throughout the track. We hear Twigs clinging desperately onto a fading relationship, pushing promises and positivity where there is none truly left.

Kicks brings the album to a close. This track, right here, is a strong and husky ode to self-sufficiency and independence, the final stages of a long-dead relationship. “I don’t need you. I love my touch, know just what to do. So I tell myself it’s cool to get my kicks like you. I just touch myself and say, I’ll make my own damn way”

LP1 is an album full of non-traditional structures and layers upon layers of instrumentation and beautiful vocals. FKA Twigs welcomes us through the door of her mind as she explores and learns about life, sexuality and relationships which delivers an honest, non-censored and intriguing collection of promising tracks. The album digs deep into feelings of insecurity, vulnerability and intimacy in relationships and life to create a powerful piece of art.

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