Aug 15, 2014 Web Exclusive
If it weren't for the very self-explanatory name LP1, you'd be forgiven for not believing it was British singer/producer FKA twigs' debut album. Rarely does a young artist make such an assured and confident statement with their first full-length album, and LP1 establishes twigs as one of those artists who is immediately and uniquely themselves right out of the gate.
Of course, there were a few hints. Her EPs received their share of acclaim, bringing twigs' woozy R&B to a wider audience. But her LP1 builds on these foundations—where the EPs had a couple of incredible singles and then petered out a little, her full-length finds a much more cohesive listen, though without the immediacy of some of her earlier singles.
However, lack of earworm tracks aside, this release is her most solid and satisfying. Songs like "Two Weeks" and "Pendulum" aren't as instantly accessible, but they grow deeper and better with repeated listens. Additionally, the production of the album finds twigs flexing her musical muscles. Somehow, she can sing like a '90s R&B icon (think Brandy or Ashanti) and Sade at the same time, but over beats that simultaneously resemble Portishead, Burial, and The xx. "Lights On" features a slinky jazz bass that sounds like the heyday of trip-hop. And "Preface" and "Closer" both feature choral vocals that wouldn't sound out of place on a record of baroque hymns. It's a mishmash of influences that twigs pulls together and makes completely her own.
She also takes on timeworn cliches of R&B (love, sex, etc.) but somehow makes them both grittier and sexier—rarely has "when I trust you, we can do it with the lights on" sounded more ponderous, and the metaphor of light and darkness more visceral. Biting bits like that bring gravitas to the dusty R&B and reward close and repeated listens.
This might be FKA twigs' first full-length, but it demands attention. She's bringing influences from every corner of the musical globe and turning them into something cohesive and wonderful. (www.fkatwi.gs)
Author rating: 8.5/10
Average reader rating: 7/10