Album Review: FKA Twigs - LP1

6 August 2014 | 10:30 am | Benny Doyle

Experience this album at least once; ideally spin it plenty more than that.

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First listen: ‘Didn’t Grimes make this record a couple of years ago?’ Second listen: ‘Grimes who?’ Third listen: ‘I’m submerged here – let me drown.’

Switch off the lights, lay your speakers down and turn your stereo up. Tahliah ‘FKA Twigs’ Barnett lives up to all the hype generated from her two EPs with a complex, breathtaking debut record that seems to share your air, your skin, and haunt your soul like only true love can.

The opening trio of songs are standout, the 26-year-old Brit serving up hypnotic choral mantras and post-dub/trip hop collisions (Preface), and reflective leftfield R&B romance (Lights On), before dropping Two Weeks on us, a disarmingly sensual song to lay arms to, even if it does briefly use a note progression from Air Supply’s All Out Of Love. No doubt Barnett is smiling about that one. From there the album unwinds with this concentrated grace: nothing is rushed, no moments are deemed meaningless. And whether dramatic (Video Girls) or futuristic (Closer), it’s all-consuming.

Left on its own, Barnett’s vocal is magnificent – and you just know she’d deliver these songs note perfect live on stage. But she puts it on the pedestal it deserves by surrounding it with these cavernous sonic structures, space in which she hides earthy beats and instrumentation, the discovery of which is left to the listener.

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There’s no reason to settle for cookie cutter pop music when this sort of delicious arty shit is readily available. Experience this album at least once; ideally spin it plenty more than that.