Most stories of FKA Twigs centre around her otherworldliness. The idiosyncratic pop star has been marked out as something out-of-the-ordinary since day one. An electronic auteur with a fluid approach to melody, production and structure, for every low-key banger on her acclaimed debut album ‘LP1’, there was another track nearby which defied categorisation. She’s an alien, some claim, her incomparable artistry lending credence to those tin-foil hat stories. ‘Cellophane’, her first new material in three years, feels like the work of someone entirely different – an artist willing to put her most human emotions at the forefront.
‘Cellophane’ is a raw-as-you-like taste of FKA Twigs’ most singular talent – her voice, now refreshingly free of effects and manipulation. With it, she tells a tale of rejected devotion, and a gaggle of onlookers desperate to see her love fail: “Why don’t I do it for you, when all I do is for you?” Twigs near-whispers. It’s the polar opposite to her last-released single, ‘Good To Love’, a track which saw her embracing romance with all the enthusiasm that title would suggest.
Sonically, too, ‘Cellophane’ does away with the bells, whistles and bloops of Twigs gone by, opting instead for a simple, piano-led arrangement. The odd surge of distorted synth helps keep up the head-consuming atmosphere, but otherwise it’s all eyes on Twigs herself.
It’s perhaps unsurprising that Twigs would opt to ditch the cyber-pop disguise, and opt for something more natural. Revealing last year that she’d had six fibroid tumours removed from her uterus, Twigs shared a rare moment of frank, uninhibited honesty. “I tried to be brave but it was excruciating at times,” she wrote in a post shared to Instagram, “and to be honest I started to doubt if my body would ever feel the same again.”
The video that accompanied that post, of Twigs pole-dancing – a beautiful display of control over that same body – is mirrored in ‘Cellophane’’s video (she explains in a statement accompanying the new track that she took up the sport purely for inclusion in the ‘Cellophane’ video). It’s further proof that, with the electronic outer shell pulled away, Twigs’ humanity is her greatest asset. If this is a teaser for the long-awaited ‘LP2’, then we’ve got something beautiful incoming.