On its surface, LP1, the debut full-length from British singer FKA twigs, is an album about fucking. Its songs are full of whispered come-ons and percussive, petit-mort vocalizing — but that allusion to intimacy masks the album’s unsettling center; while LP1 sounds like never-leaving-the-bed fantasia, it spends much of its time in the chasm between fantasy and reality. LP1 is an album that speaks to the modern condition, poking at the illusion of connection generated by constant connectivity and wondering: How do you get beyond being two people alone, together? Can real life ever live up to what happens in your head?
There’s a lot of trying on LP1 and almost no triumph. There’s also no consummation (save for the line “I could kiss you for hours” on “Hours”), and song after song revisits the theme of isolation. “Pendulum”‘s protagonist is “so lonely/ trying to be yours”; On “Number,” “I’m lonely baby, I’m lonely babe.” On “Closer,” twigs recalls, “All those years in/ isolation,” pining for connection as the dream fails to sustain. The production reflects this: Emile Haynie (Lana Del Rey’s Born to Die), who produced the bulk of the record, has a particular way with a fixed emotional loop. Songs vamp, but never gain traction — all longing, no climax. It’s tense, tentative pop that simulates the airlessness of solitude.