The London-based singer and dancer Tahliah Barnett recorded a sensual, erotic, wondrous debut album in "LP1". Quite how the judges of the Mercury Prize managed to cock it up again and fail to award this the best British album of the year is an outright mystery. Bennett is one of those artists brimming with such confidence and verve. she is blessed with a huge talent and is using it to great effect.
On the surface the album is a mix of trip hop, alternative R&B and sensual balladry. Yet FKA Twigs is one of those boundary spanners who nudges music forward with an extraordinary voice and conquers up a moody down-tempo ambience that reeks of atmosphere. The structure of the songs work perfectly. They are driven by her melodious voice but behind them are fractured beats, throbbing distorted baselines and trippy drum textures. But there is real toughness here not least in the brilliant "Two Weeks" an explicit foray into the world of steamy passions as she breathes "Smoke on your skin to get those pretty eyes rolling/My thighs are apart for when you're ready to breathe in/Suck me up, I'm healing with all the s**t you're dealing". This is sheer slowed down power mined from that rich vein which Massive Attack once held the bragging rights. Intriguingly there is also a hint of Kate Bush thrown in for good measure.
Recording such a brilliant first album must put huge pressure on Bennett in terms of the followup. But she is one of those artists who will no doubt have that type of consistency that other great female musicians like Janelle Monae and Bjork have displayed in the past. One to watch for in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018.................
Review by Red on Black