This is my first contribution to our reviews of Mercury Music Awards 2014 nominees. It’s by an artist I had absolutely no knowledge of prior to being assigned this album. She goes by the name of FKA Twigs. I didn’t need Wikipedia to tell that that is not her real name. That’s apparently Tahliah Debrett Barnett and she originates from the gritty urban backdrop of rural Gloucestershire. I did need Wikipedia to tell me that.
She deals in a form of music I’m not terribly familiar with. When I say not terribly familiar I mean I’ve never even heard of it up until writing this review. It’s something called PBR&B. It also goes by the equally bewildering name of R-Neg-B. If you wanted to be less pompous about it then apparently it could be classed as Alternative R&B. It sounds to these old ears very much like Trip Hop. What’s wrong with just calling it Trip Hop? R-Neg-B for Christ’s sake! Try telling people that’s what you’re into without getting your shins kicked in.
Listening to her debut album, the inventively named LP1. A strong Tricky influence is definitely very noticeable in songs like Lights On, Two Weeks or Video Girl, particularly his early work with Martina Topley-Bird, though this is much more restrained and atmospheric than anything on Maxinquaye. It’s also quite minimal. Often the songs are just a few clicks, beeps and her voice. It works quite well though I’d appreciate something at the other end of the spectrum every now and then as a contrast. Going back to her voice, it’s actually quite pretty. It has a nice, ethereal quality to it that wafts effortlessly over your ears in a pleasing way.
One thing that doesn't seem to have been very high on the agenda however, is song writing. I’ve listened to this album straight through three times now and I’d be hard pushed to tell you what any of the songs are called without looking or, indeed, which one I’m listening to. They’re all of one pace and the vocals are all beautiful and floaty but big, memorable choruses are very much thin on the ground.
Whilst this isn’t an album you’d listen to get yourself all gee’d up for a night on the town (and whatever you do, don’t listen to it while driving or operating heavy machinery) but as nice background music for sexytime, to listen to before sleep or, perhaps while off your tits on hash cakes then this is actually a decent enough album.
6 out of 10 - Now I see where you were going, but not quite there.
Best Track – Give Up
Listen on Spotify HERE
Buy on Amazon HERE