FKA Twigs - LP1 | Album Review | By Volume

I'm afraid of heaven because I can't stand the height. I'm afraid of you because I can't be left behind. St. Vincent - Regret

FKA Twigs


Trust in Twigs.

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Author: on September 4, 2014
Young Turks
August 6, 2014

I remember first hearing “Papi Pacify” almost a year ago, to the day, and thinking to myself: “Wow, so this is that feeling I’ve been chasing since I first heard Diamond Life”. Similarly to Sade Adu, Tahliah Barnett occupies this singular entity within contemporary R&B that is so spacey and off-kilter from the norm, you’d half expect a UFO to be following her in tow as opposed to a tour bus. Something about FKA Twigs always seemed somewhat alien, and not in the sense that she was weird or whatever the fuck that means – more so that her art and image were so distant from her peers, yet her music curiously fits right in with the likes of a Weeknd, Sam Smith or XX – if only for its sheer power and production quality. Sure, you’re probably not going to see “Two Weeks” sitting above “Stay With Me” on the single charts any time soon, but you might hear them back to back on the radio, and this is a good thing. Twigs’ music is so lush and rife in pillowy melodies it’d be a disappointment if the record wasn’t pop-friendly. But what makes LP1 so rewarding is that there’s so much more to it than just the saccharine heights. This is an album to be played in the dark, or in the early-morning mist and during personal time spent with a lover. It’s elegant and accessible, sure. But it’s also a record that flourishes within the shadows.

Twigs brings her own light to the occasion frequently, crafting elegant and challenging instrumentals, coupled with her own striking vocals to make resplendent and fully realized love songs. “When I trust you we can do it with the lights on / When I trust you we’ll make love until the morning / Let me tell you all my secrets and I’ll whisper ‘til the day’s done”, Twigs damn near whispers on “Lights On”, a song that drips in a cool confidence as Twigs opens her heart up wide for all to see. A lot of LP1 is like that, though. Taking a listen to the album’s first two singles “Two Weeks” and “Pendulum”, it’s easy to notice that Barnett has little issue with writing incredibly personal lyrics. “You forgot / How we fell in love / I’m your sweet / Little love maker / You’re younger than I am broken / I dance feelings like that sparkle / Summer conversations, not enough”, she relays on “Pendulum”, but there’s a catharsis to all of this it feels. Like Twigs is reveling in an airing of grievances and we all get to hear it happen as if we were standing right there.

Was I just a number to you? / Was I just a lonely girl to find? / Tonight, I’ve got a question for you. / Tonight, you want to hold on tight”, she exclaims gorgeously on the brooding “Numbers”, a deceptive banger of a song. This can be said for any of LP1’s tracks, really. It’s a record that works as well between your headphones as it does blaring from enormous speakers. It’s raw, intelligent, always honest and feels rarely afraid of anything. Twigs comes off an empress with the amount of swagger she effortlessly tosses around frequently. “When I’m alone / 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 / Just like you”, she intimates on closer “Kicks”, a brilliant fuck-off sent in the direction of a lover. Lines like this seem to be drawn frequently throughout LP1, she simply doesn’t suffer anyone’s shit it seems. This iron fist, so to speak, is felt through LP1 like a spine. Twigs is in full command of her debut, as though she were a seasoned veteran, but there’s still a wide-eyed innocence about LP1 that leaves it feeling very much a debut record, but a resoundingly excellent one at that.

Lead me to a place / I’m free from all the wrongs I do”, Barnett sings on “Closer”, a line I feel encapsulates the escape that Twigs has found in her music. One that translates over to the listener seamlessly, allowing us a glimpse into her world. A place she makes sound engrossing to say the least. LP1 isn’t a perfect record, and really, I wouldn’t even call it very groundbreaking. Coming from a label like Young Turks, forward-thinking, eclectic R&B feels right. That FKA Twigs is incredibly imaginative, intimate and seriously talented, makes even more sense. What LP1 is, though, is a special debut from an artist that should continue to surprise and captivate for years to come.

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