FKA Twigs, Magdalene review: Her extraordinary voice leads us round hairpin bends – Evening Standard

FKA Twigs[1]‘s second album is named after a misrepresented woman living in the shadow of a more famous man.

The musician’s now-finished relationship with soon-to-be-Batman Robert Pattinson[2] made her a victim of internet trolling and also (perhaps alongside Elon Musk’s similarly unconventional partner Grimes) the world’s least likely target  for paparazzi and gossip mags; there’s very  little in her music or her visuals that’s fit for mainstream interest. On the album cover, her face is unsettlingly distorted. Even her version of pole dancing in the video for the stunning ballad Cellophane culminates in her being swallowed by a metal insect and plastered in mud by turtle-like creatures.

Sonically, the strangeness here is slightly off  to one side in comparison to her brittle, Mercury-nominated 2014 debut, LP1. Sad Day has what would qualify as a hummable chorus. Co-writers include Skrillex, Benny Blanco and Jack Antonoff, who have also worked with Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran. There’s plenty of piano — Home With You briefly has the vintage vibes of Lana Del Rey[3] — but also scratchy electronic beats and, towards the close of Mary Magdalene, a remarkable pile-on  of extraterrestrial synths.

What’s most extraordinary here is her singing voice, from a cloudbusting falsetto  on Mirrored Heart to fevered shouting on the appropriately titled Fallen Alien and an eerie whisper on Daybed. There’s something new and exciting around every hairpin bend. Magdalene allows her to stand alone as an exceptional artist. 


  1. ^ FKA Twigs (
  2. ^ soon-to-be-Batman Robert Pattinson (
  3. ^ Lana Del Rey (

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