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FKA Twigs - M3LL155X (Album Review)

Wednesday, 02 September 2015 Written by Huw Baines

Since the release of 'LP1', FKA Twigs' world has been one of perpetual motion. First came the boundary-pushing videos, then the live shows that fused her music with dance and thematic musings bordering on performance art.

Next in the chain, and with no little element of surprise on its side, is 'M3LL155X', an EP that picks up the trail of her debut full length and chases it into harsh, industrial landscapes lit up by her most quietly effective melodies.

Figure 8's rumbling, metallic low end gives way to a powerful, yet otherworldly chorus and scratches at the skin, juxtaposing with the ever-changing backdrop of I'm Your Doll.

There, layered vocals and piercing synth notes are overtaken by a swell of a chorus and more of those stomach-churning bass thumps. Twigs explores the dynamics of power and submission by revisiting a song initially penned in her teens, viewing it now in an almost abstract sense given the distance between its lyrics - “Love me rough. I’m your doll. Dress me up. I’m your doll.” - and the powerful woman she is now.

The balancing act between clever hooks and unapologetic stylistic shifts is deftly maintained, reaching a peak as In Time’s accusatory tone - “You’ve got a goddamn nerve.” - transposes into an almost gentle, tension-relieving finish. It’s executed in such a manner that the dissipation of its edge remains surprising and deeply satisfying.

There is a sense that Twigs knows more than we do, not only in terms of the direction we’re headed in, but also in relation to her idea of self. She is able to unpick and understand the layers of her identity, presenting provocative, singular messages with supreme confidence. She is quite unlike anyone else.

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