Album Review – M3LL155X / FKA Twigs

FKA Twigs just dropped this EP following the teasers of ‘Glass & Patron’ and ‘Figure 8’, which I reviewed positively. Sounding like an Aphex Twin release, M3LL155X was recorded in the wake of last years’ LP1 and keeps up the consistency of Twigs’ releases as well as offering new sounds and styles to her palette. It’s her most diverse selection of songs yet and also her most exceptional. This may be an EP, but it reminds of a full-length Bjork release such as Vulnicura from earlier this year. By incorporating more pop structures, icier atmospherics and even a few lines of rapping on ‘In Time’ FKA Twigs has proved once again she can appeal to pop whilst exploring the verges of experimental electronic and R’n’B music.

‘Figure 8’ is much bigger sounding than previously previewed on the Beats1 radio show. Here, it begins like a bit like the start of ‘Black Skinhead’ beefed up. It’s an all-out assault on the ears 40 seconds in, before returning to the trip-hop of the track. Similarly noisy is ‘I’m Your Doll’, the next track, with a creepy video that goes along with it. Twigs returns to the disembodiment of sex and control, where she demands ‘Love me rough, I’m your doll’ and ‘Wind me up, I’m your doll’. The track is sparse on the electronics until the outro, where what sounds like a Death Grips industrial guitar cuts through the coldness. It’s an interesting turn of instrumentation, veering from the echoing snares and bass which Twigs usually sticks to.

‘In Time’ is a fast-tempo track for FKA Twigs, sounding like an off-cut from Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, especially with her rapping which completely changes her voice. She’s not a natural rapper, but it gives a whole dimension to her vocals. The track incorporates Grimes-like scales patterns, and yes, it’s a whole new approach for Twigs. M3LL155X keeps in theme with FKA Twigs lyrics, which isn’t surprising considering how close it was recorded to LP1, with themes of sex, fame (especially in modelling and dancing) and dominant/submissive characters. It’s creepily interesting, as always, where ‘Glass & Patron’ repeats ‘Figure 8’s ‘Hold That Pose’ to reinforce the message.

Sure, there are weak tracks. ‘In Time’ and ‘Mothercreep’ don’t hold up to ‘Figure 8’ or ‘I’m Your Doll’, but do offer their own new styles. Each track shows a different side to Twigs: rap, pop, experimentalism, noise. It’s so exciting to see an artist keep producing such prolific music time and time again, always evolving into something else. If M3LL155X is anything to go by, Twigs’ next album could be any number of things. This EP simply throws any predictors off, as anything Twigs’ touches turns to musical gold.

8/10

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