FKA Twigs: Magdalene review – from germ-free adolescent to tainted love

Fri, Nov 8, 2019, 06:00

   
 

Album:
Magdalene

Artist:
FKA Twigs

Label:
Young Turks

Genre:
Alternative

We have much time for anyone who declares X-Ray Spex’s 1978 album Germfree Adolescents to be their all-time favourite. No matter that FKA Twigs’s music – a beguiling hybrid of electronica, trip-hop, experimental and R&B – shows little resemblance: approach and attitude go a long way.

Arriving five years after her lauded debut, LP1, Magdalene positions the one-time backing dancer as having been put through an emotional wringer. One can only presume, therefore, that many of the songs on the album refer – even obliquely – to her former relationship with the actor Robert Pattinson.

FKA Twigs - Home with You

More concrete evidence, however, is that the tenor of the songs also allude to invasive surgery she underwent almost two years ago.

The almost-title track Mary Magdalene may be the signifier for most of what we hear. Over shimmering piano lines and what sounds like a wake-up alarm call, Twigs sings “a woman’s work, a woman’s prerogative, a woman’s time to embrace, she must put herself first” – implying Kate Bush’s influence, which has clear imprints all over here.

The remainder of the album has equal focus, constituting a rebirth of sorts for this most unpredictable of artists.