It’s so hard in this day and age of pop to come up with a new sound, yet that’s exactly what FKA Twigs has done, culminating in last year’s debut album ‘LP1’. Sure, you can hear influences in her spectral R&B sound (from the likes of Björk to Aaliyah), but her music is unique, instantly recognisable and utterly fresh.
That remains true for this new EP, ‘M3LL155X’. Far from being offcuts from the album, these five songs are amongst her best yet (some were even written before the album). Sex remains high on the agenda – opening track Figure 8 alone features elongated groans and lyrics such as “I’ve a baby inside, but I won’t give birth ‘till you insert yourself inside of me”. For the most part, though, the sex is tinged with jealousy and issues of control. “Stop playing with those other girls, you know it makes me jealous baby” she sings on I’m Your Doll before the chorus of “I’m your doll, wind me up…dress me up…love me rough”. In Time then deals with the aftermath: “In time, your hands on my body will resonate through me like they did before”. These lyrics are often accompanied by a lower vocal range, quite literally adding depth to her music and sounding more relatable than before.
Then there’s the production, as off-kilter and abstract as you’d expect and filled with tiny touches that reward repeated listening. That said, ‘M3LL155X’ contains some of her most accessible music to date – or perhaps we’re just becoming more accustomed to her sound? Either way, more than ever her music sounds like R&B stretched, squeezed and morphed through her own twisted filter: from the clipped beats of Figure 8, to the melodic hooks of I’m Your Doll and Mothercreep, and the vogueing of Glass & Patron (“hold that pose for me”).
In Time, though, is the real highlight of the EP and the closest Twigs gets to typical R&B with its traditional structure, regular beat and earworm chorus. If ‘M3LL155X’ proves one thing it’s that Twigs is surely capable of spanning multiple genres and audiences. And with the EP accompanied by an extended video that's as dark and bizarre as we've come to expect, there really is no end to her talents.
Listen: ‘M3LL155X’ is available now.