By Grant Bailey (@GrantDBailey)
The lens through which FKA twigs gazes on the world is a twisted one. A collision of experimental noise and sugary melody, high fashion, body horror, contortion and mutated R&B; this is M3LL155X.
The latest EP/video project from FKA twigs, M3LL155X arrives with the assured cool of an auteur secure in their vision. In many ways the EP is business as usual for twigs; electronic R&B distorted through a prism of progressive pop as lyrics drape over the subjects of lust, sex and submission.
The success of LP1 has crystallised in M3LL155X. What the EP lacks in that record’s raw lust and eroticism it gains in tighter tunes. Each quirk in ‘the soundscape of ‘FIgure 8’ is placed with intention, the chorus of ‘In Time’ arriving with the afterglow of pop nostalgia. ‘I’m Your Doll’ is barbed with barely-veiled subtext. ‘Glass and Patron’ meanwhile is her sound at its most experimental. A fluctuating vocal pitch and shifting tempo give the track an unstable quality, built on the foundations of the vocal hook – “Hold that pose for me” – delivered in such a way that it’s homage to Madonna’s ‘Vogue’ is undeniable.
The visual component of M3LL155X is less convincing, an oddball spectacle that distracts more than it enhances. Twig’s performance on ‘In Time’ is the standout, demonstrating her considerable talents as a dancer. There’s voguing, the signature baby hair (and a rather disturbing baby bump) and a more balanced tone that the grot (‘I’m Your Doll’) and carnal bombast (‘Glass and Patron’) that bracket this middle act.