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FKA twigs: Caprisongs review – wild invention let down by weak songs | Music

FKA twigs not too long ago took to Instagram to depict her mixtape Caprisongs as a soundtrack for making ready to exit: “It’s bronzer within the sink, alcopop on the aspect … a membership pre-game … your bestie who’s at all times late however brings essentially the most to a celebration.”

This isn’t an outline that may match most of Tahliah Barnett’s oeuvre – up to now she has dealt largely in darkness and heartache. However the place 2019’s Magdalene got here with a sleeve that includes twigs wanting troubled, her face disturbingly distorted, on the quilt of Caprisongs – the very first thing she’s launched since she accused her ex-boyfriend Shia LaBeouf of abuse (allegations he denies) – she’s clad in glittering jewelry, pulling down her backside lip to disclose the acronym GOAT (best of all time) written on her tooth. Its contents comply with swimsuit.

FKA twigs on the cover of Caprisongs.
Oral textual content … FKA twigs on the quilt of Caprisongs. {Photograph}: Younger/Atlantic

Twigs herself sounds totally different: the quivering RP voice she deployed throughout Magdalene is essentially gone, though it makes a quick reappearance throughout Minds of Males. It’s changed by one thing with roots in her adopted house of south London, a greater match for lyrics extra clearly rooted in hip-hop and R&B than earlier than, the supply regularly influenced by the fast-paced triplet flows of rap. There’s a noticeable new buoyancy to the musical strategy: “Falling in love over again, however this time with music and myself”, as she put it on Instagram, in what reads like a response to the misery of her emotional life.

FKA twigs’ want to current herself in another way on Caprisongs goes far past the visuals and vocal tics. For all of the soul-baring on Magdalene, which picked aside the collapse of her relationship with actor Robert Pattinson and the regularly racist and sexist frenzy it engendered on social media, there remained a sure unattainable high quality about twigs herself, along with her elaborate movies, the warping of her face on album sleeves and her dwell reveals thick with demonstrations of her mastery of faucet dancing and sword-based kung fu. Even when singing about heartbreak, she appeared an artist who cleaved to the notion that pop stars ought to be unusual and unearthly, not simple reflections of their viewers.

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Caprisongs, nevertheless, presents her in a extra prosaic gentle: as your mate, not a thriller. Like Jazmine Sullivan’s 2021 critics’ favorite Heaux Tales, and certainly Adele’s 30, it options intimate voice-note recordings: of twigs bemoaning an ex’s behaviour and discussing her insecurities; of her astrologer, speaking a load of wafty previous cobblers; and of her pals and collaborators, a few of whom try and buck twigs up (“I want you possibly can see in you what I can see in you”), and a few of whom expound on their often complicated private philosophies. “I’m one in all a sort – properly, folks like me are one in all a sort,” provides rapper Pa Salieu.

FKA twigs: Tears within the Membership ft the Weeknd – video

The album represents an intriguing shift in a local weather the place pop stars who undertake personae then follow them for many years, by no means breaking character: no Bowie-esque shape-shifting for Lana Del Rey or the Weeknd, who turns up right here on Tears within the Membership. However, in a single sense not less than, Caprisongs does resemble its predecessor. The music and manufacturing are wildly ingenious, as at all times with twigs, though this time extra clearly tethered to beats that take inspiration from entice, drum’n’bass and – on Papi Bones – dancehall. Sounds fly out and in of the combination, tracks regularly really feel like one-way journeys, ending up in a totally totally different place from the place they began. Good concepts abound: the dramatic jump-cut adjustments of Honda’s backing; the wildly chopped-up harp samples on Darjeeling that sound like your web connection is buffering; a sudden explosion of stacked harmonies and white noise halfway via Journey the Dragon. When you’re going to make use of AutoTune, you may as properly do it as imaginatively as she does on Pamplemousse, continually zapping and shifting the pitch and texture of her vocals.

However, as with Magdalene, you’re usually unavoidably conscious that the songwriting on the centre of Caprisongs is underbaked. There are actually good issues right here: Darjeeling brilliantly interpolates a snatch of Olive’s You’re Not Alone to underline the music’s depiction of London as a spot so various that anybody can really feel at house; Oh My Love has a reasonably tune; you marvel if Tears within the Membership’s reputation has much less to do with its starry particular visitor than its actually sturdy melody. However extra usually, Caprisongs settles for the fragmentary: scattered snatches of melodic concepts that may have been extra totally developed, tunes that battle to chop via the sonic tumult round them. Lightbeamers is as onerous to understand as smoke; the patchwork of bass line, chanting and fluttering vocals on Which Manner feels as if it’s rambling, regardless of lasting barely two minutes.

There’s loads that’s laudable about Caprisongs. Not least its want to maintain transferring and altering – sufficient that complaining about one thing as simple as a paucity of memorable tunes nearly feels miserly. However equally, it’s one thing that finally impedes your enjoyment of the album. As a soundtrack for the beginning of an evening, it doesn’t fairly pan out as you may hope.

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