FKA twigs

LP1

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FKA Twigs' early EPs were such jewel-like statements of purpose, delivering songs full of sensuality and heartache so economically, that an album almost seemed superfluous. None of these songs appear on the simply titled LP 1, a bold move that extends to the rest of the album. On her first full-length, Tahliah Barnett opens up her sound by working with a host of producers: along with previous collaborator Arca, Paul Epworth and Dev Hynes contribute their sound-shaping skills, along with Emile Haynie, whose work on Eminem's Recovery earned him a Grammy. These collaborators help FKA Twigs give LP 1 a lusher sound that's more accessible, and more overtly R&B than her earlier work, but maintains its ethereal sensuality. It's an approach that shines on the lead single "Two Weeks": the flipside of songs like "Papi Pacify" and "Water Me," pain suffused and sometimes eclipsed desire, it finds FKA Twigs powerfully in control of her sexuality, rooting out doubt and infidelity over the verses' underwater beats and soaring on the ecstatic choruses. The album's other singles are just as charged. The Epworth-produced "Pendulum" amplifies FKA Twigs' bittersweet side beautifully, and when she sings "I dance feelings like they're spoken," it's as intimate as the more overtly autobiographical and anguished "Video Girl," a callback to her time dancing in clips for songs by Ed Sheeran and Jessie J. Here and throughout LP 1, she excels at broadening her emotional palette as well as her musical one. She glides from the album's lows to its highs, juxtaposing pitch-black tracks like "Numbers," where chopped-up breaths, beats, and horror movie strings channel panic, loss, and anger, with radiant ones like "Closer," the poppiest FKA Twigs song yet (and one that Barnett produced herself). Elsewhere, the spacious, moody "Kicks" and "Lights On" recalls her EPs without rehashing them, reinforcing how seamlessly she made the leap to a grander scope. FKA Twigs' music was already so fully realized that LP 1 can't really be called the album where she came into her own. Rather, her music has been tended to since the "Water Me" days, and now it's flourishing.

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