From time to time, a musician comes along who defies description – FKA Twigs is one of those musicians. This former backing dancer (for Jessie J, no less) has just released her second four track release ‘EP2.’ Whilst she might not be the most imaginative soul when it comes to naming her releases, Twigs is a visual experience. She’s half R&B crooner, half electronic superstar, with a dedication to her art that few musicians share.
She’s a living, breathing work of art – a woman who pours time and creativity into the visual side of her music, to create an all-encompassing product. You can see this in any one of her music videos, with their dark CGI body modifications and references to things like BDSM and sexual longing. On ‘EP2,’ FKA Twigs is at her most vulnerable, a breathy alien force singing of broken relationships and unrequited desire.
There’s a clear and immutable sexuality at work here, it runs through all four tracks and is especially prominent on the oppressive trudge pop of ‘Papi Pacify.’ This tale of masochistic love is certainly not for the faint hearted, but the high pitched trill of Twigs’ vocals lifts it from a shape shifting, bass heavy dirge to a sonically impressive meditation on submission and manipulation. ‘Make me everything you want,’ she pleads, ‘Never tell me no.’
There’s a shift to wispier vocals and sparser drum beats on delicate track ‘Water Me,’ though its themes are just as dark. The vocals are coated in a thin layer of FX, giving them an even more alien feel and adding a unique layer to a sound that’s already pushing the bar. It’s an oddly beautiful track, mesmerising even and it’s difficult not to be moved by Twigs’ wavering confession that ‘…he won’t make love to me now. Not now I’ve set the fee.’
It’s clear that FKA Twigs isn’t for everyone and she wouldn’t want to be. Her musical journey is one of the most intriguing and intimate of the last ten years, but she won’t ever be a mainstream artist. It’s okay though, because the world needs secrets as hypnotising and remarkable as this strange little lady. She’s made the EP that she wanted to and it’s a beautiful, frightening, sensual experience that’s not easily forgotten.