FKA twigs has been just about everywhere the past couple weeks. But if you’ve been following the music blogosphere for the past couple years, you probably know all there is to know about twigs. She makes atmospheric, heartbreaking R&B with her impossibly delicate vocals. LP1 is her first stab at a full-length record and it comes fit with a few flashes of brilliance that guarantee this won’t be the last we see of Tahlia Barnett.
The album opens with a trippy, dark “Preface” that makes sense in the context of twigs’ previous releases. Like her now-famous video for “Two Weeks,” it’s slippery and strange. That reminds me: “Two Weeks.” This song, the third on the album and already something of a phenomenon, is one of two moments where LP1 really shines. It has a fairly nightmarish sound and showcases all the ways Barnett can use her voice to hypnotize. The other truly transcendent moment is “Pendulum,” especially when its many percussive elements crest into a desperate plea on the second half of the song. There really hasn’t been anything like it before and any sort of attempts at comparison feel futile.
“Video Girl” is an impressive melding of atmosphere and meaning, tracing back Barnett’s history as a backup dancer in various music videos. But the rest of the album’s second half meanders. It serves as a reminder that this is a debut after all and twigs needs some time to make a cohesive record that feels free of filler. And really, outside of those killer singles, I don’t really feel twigs brings anything new to this (probably overcrowded) indie R&B genre. The Weeknd’s House of Balloons, for example, sounded so much newer and bolder as a whole when it dropped. While one of twigs’ calling cards is her unique, beautiful voice, everything around that voice feels pretty familiar. It makes for an album that is technically impressive and occasionally brilliant, but never that exciting or game-changing.