Text by Joe K.
FKA Twigs is my first exposure to trip-hop in a loooong time, and even then, Massive Attack, Tricky, and DJ Shadow were the only artists I actually used to follow. But I’ve been hearing good things about her album (L.P. 1), so I have some interest in revisiting old territory.
The first thing you notice is the production and almost out of body feel that the music portrays. “Preface” is entices the listener with a church hymnal sound laid atop of a big, booming beat. After that, however, the album starts to slip for a bit.
She’s going for the seductive vibe that The Weeknd pulled off amazingly on his mixtape trilogy, but I’m not feeling it on this one. Songs like “Two Weeks” has tons of swearing splattered throughout, and I’m not sure I get the point of it, whereas, edgy references flow naturally through Abel Tesfaye’s House of Balloons.
“Pendulum” -the 5th track- is where Twigs starts to shine; her R&B style vocals are complimented by slow, minimal beats drenched in electronics and it works beautifully. When she sings, “Was I just a number to you?” (off of, you guessed it, “Numbers”) the emotion behind her vocals is much more convincing than earlier in the album. It also helps that the beats in the album’s second half are crazy good. Although “Closer” relies more on its great production than any other element, “Kicks” closes things out on a sting note with its heavy bass and her sultry vocals.
I’m not 100% sure that I would dub this as Trip-Hop as some have, but there are some familiar aspects in it. L.P. 1 is closer to contemporary R&B than anything else, but the production definitely has a more experimental edge. And it is Twigs’ producer that is the clear winner in this release; the heavy beats and use of electronics throughout are exceptional and provide the tracks with a cohesive “album” feel. Every song offers an interesting or unique aspect, even as some triumph over others. The first L.P. is a promising effort from an up and coming artist and is perfect for any late night festivities you may partake in (wink, wink). However, it would have made a killer E.P. #3, in my opinion.