Album Review: FKA twigs – Magdalene

7 November 2019 | 12:01 pm | Christopher H James

"[A] personal triumph over adversity."

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Five years after her breakthrough LP1, FKA twigs takes us on an entirely new adventure. It’s one set against the backdrop of a public separation and the surgical removal of fibroid tumours from her uterus, an experience she describes as “living with a fruit bowl of pain every day". But despite hardship, Magdalene is full of surprises, not least the choral opening of Thousand Eyes, which fans out into a chilly finish, assisted by Nicolas Jaar and his singular sense of melody.

Although there’s a small army of collaborators, including Skrillex and Oneohtrix Point Never, FKA twigs was involved in every stage of the record, and it's a cohesive, carefully crafted whole. Her range has developed considerably, as seen in the newfound tones of anger on Fallen Alien, the enchanting whispers on the Future-featuring Holy Terrain, her gasps of exhaustion on Daybed, and in Cellophane, where there is a shakiness that’s disarmingly vulnerable. It’s the sound of someone crawling through the wreckage to good health and a new perspective. Magdalene is a personal triumph over adversity.