Tahliah Barnett is a British musician and dancer better known as FKA Twigs and will be releasing her debut album LP1 out on Young Turks this month. Following her debut EP she put on Bandcamp in 2012, things have only got better for the former dancer with profiling from The Guardian newspaper, Pitchfork, Spotify and the BBC amongst others. She makes a special and ethereal blend of UK R&B.
Opener “Preface” begins with Barnett’s porcelain vocals at a high pitch before steady rhythms take over. It’s not like any R&B you’ve ever heard before. Sounds resonate and strangeness takes over. “Lights On” starts as strangely, and the sound effects add to the feeling, although the chorus touches on the catchy idea of an R&B classic, and has all the intimacy of a female rapper’s confession; “When I trust you we can do it with the lights on” repeats over various sound effects and the melody.
“Two Weeks” shows off Barnett’s vocals more, she actually has a real maturity to her singing voice, something of a Maria Carey even. The track pulses under her crystal voice spouting lyrics about sexual acts. “Hours” is stripped back to light drums and vocals to begin with, the mood taken down a notch; “I could kiss you for hours”.
“Pendulum” has the swinging momentum you would expect from such a title.
Rhythms build and drop, and the lyrics echo this “lately I’m not so present”.
“Video Girl” gets behind the people in the music industry; “19, 2 kids… was she the girl that’s from the video?” The melody builds and it’s a super catchy FKA Twigs track.
“Numbers” is full of jerky synth and jerky rhythms, whilst Barnett is full of scorn; “Was I just a number to you? Tonight I’ve got a question for you” vocals merge and seem to run backwards in confusion. “Closer” has a sort of steady, choral feel to it, like an alternative church choir. Keeping it simple again FKA Twigs resonates “Closer, I’m here to be closer, closer to you, to you, to you”.
Closing track “Kicks” has more pulsing echoing sound effects but with a bouncing bass sound to punctuate. Bringing to a close the themes of insecurities in relationships that runs trough the album she signs out “I told myself it would be ok to wait for you and only you” and “When I’m alone, I don’t need you, I love my touch, I tell myself it’s cool, to get my kicks like you”. And certainly FKA Twigs has her own unique brand of R&B, which touches on experimental pop with some ethereal Kate bush vibes thrown in too. Talking about young love and insecurities, she does so in a fresh, exciting way.
Reviewed by Heather Welsh.