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

FKA twigs recently took to Instagram to portray his Caprisongs mixtape as a soundtrack to getting ready to go out: “It’s bronzer in the sink, alcopop on the side…pre-game club…your best friend who is always late but brings the most to a party.”

It’s not a description that would match most of Tahliah Barnett’s work – to date she has largely dealt with darkness and heartache. But where 2019’s Madeleine came with a clutch with troubled-looking twigs, her face disturbingly distorted, on the cover of Caprisongs – the first thing she’s posted since she accused her ex-boyfriend Shia LaBeouf of abuse (allegations he denies) – she is dressed in shiny jewellery, pulling her bottom lip to reveal the acronym GOAT (Greatest of All Time) written on her teeth. Its content follows the same path.

Oral text… FKA twigs on the cover of Caprisongs. Photography: Young/Atlantic

Twigs herself sounds different: the shaky RP voice she deployed during Magdalene has largely disappeared, though she does make a brief reappearance during Minds of Men. It’s replaced by something with roots in his adopted South London home, a better fit for the lyrics more obviously rooted in hip-hop and R&B than before, with delivery often influenced by fast-paced streams. rap triplets. There’s a noticeable new zest in the musical approach: “Falling in love all over again, but this time with the music and myself,” as she said on Instagram, in what reads like a response to the distress of his emotional life.

FKA twigs’ desire to present themselves differently on Caprisongs goes far beyond visual and vocal tics. Despite all of Magdalene’s exposure, which aside from the breakdown of her relationship with actor Robert Pattinson and the often racist and sexist frenzy she spawned on social media, there remained a certain quality that was unattainable to about twigs herself, with her elaborate videos, the distortion of her face on album covers, and her live shows filled with demonstrations of her mastery of tap dancing and sword kung fu. Even when she was singing about heartbreak, she seemed like an artist committed to the idea that pop stars should be weird, supernatural reflections, not just reflections of their audiences.

Twigs FKA: Tears in the Club ft the Weeknd – vidéo

Caprisongs, however, presents her in a more prosaic light: as a companion, not a mystery. Like Jazmine Sullivan’s 2021 critic-favorite Heaux Tales, and even Adele’s 30s, it features recordings of intimate voice notes: twigs lamenting an ex’s behavior and discussing his insecurities; of his astrologer, who spoke of a bunch of wacky old cobblers; and of his friends and collaborators, some of whom attempt to wind up the twigs (“I wish you could see in you what I can see in you”), and some of whom lay out their sometimes confusing personal philosophies. “I’m one of a kind – well, people like me are one of a kind,” offers rapper Pa Salieu.

The album represents an intriguing change in a climate where pop stars who adopt personas and then stay with them for decades, never breaking character: no Bowie-like shape-shifting for Lana Del Rey or the Weeknd, who features here on Tears in the Club. But, in one way at least, Caprisongs resembles its predecessor. The music and production are wildly inventive, as always with twigs, though this time more clearly tied to beats that draw inspiration from trap, drum’n’bass and – on Papi Bones – dancehall. Sounds flow in and out of the mix, tracks often feel like one-way trips, ending in a completely different place than they started. Brilliant ideas abound: Honda’s dramatic changes in support; the wildly chopped harp samples on Darjeeling that make your internet connection feel like it’s buffering; a sudden explosion of stacked harmonies and white noise in the middle of Ride the Dragon. If you’re going to use AutoTune, you might as well do it with as much imagination as she does on Pamplemousse, constantly zapping and changing the pitch and texture of her voice.

But, as with Magdalene, you’re often unavoidably aware that the songwriting at the center of Caprisongs is underdone. There’s some really good stuff here: Darjeeling brilliantly interpolates a snippet from Olive’s You’re Not Alone to underscore the song’s description of London as a place so diverse anyone can call home; Oh My Love has a lovely melody; you wonder if Tears in the Club’s popularity has less to do with its star-studded special guest than its really strong melody. But most often, Caprisongs is satisfied with the fragmentary: scattered snatches of melodic ideas that could have been more developed, tunes that struggle to cross the sound tumult that surrounds them. Beams of light are as difficult to grasp as smoke; the patchwork of bass lines, vocals and floating vocals on Which Way feels disjointed, even though it’s barely two minutes long.

There are many commendable things about Caprisongs. Notably his desire to keep moving and changing – enough that complaining about something as simple as a lack of memorable tunes is almost miserly. But also, it’s something that ultimately hinders your enjoyment of the album. As a soundtrack for the start of a night, it doesn’t quite pan out as you might hope.