How to Dress Well "What Is This Heart?"
Published Jun 20, 2014Tom Krell spent the first four years of his career as How to Dress Well as an outlier, hiding in the shadows, only occasionally poking his head above the aural murk. But on HTDW's third full-length, he offers a crisp and clear-eyed view into his world. "2 Years On" opens the album with just finger picked acoustic guitar and his unadorned voice before shifting into the full bodied "What you Wanted," which sets the tone for the rest of the record. Once again working with producer Rodaidh McDonald in Berlin, Krell similarly fleshed out the album's production. Often assumed to be an indie rocker dabbling in R&B, he's fully embraced pop and R&B production while still treading heavy emotional terrain that makes space for both the joyous romanticism of "Repeat Pleasure" and the Yeezus-esque nihilism of "Face Again." Although still a fantastic album, previous effort Total Loss took a heavy emotional toll on listeners, dragging them into Krell's darkened emotional state. "What is This Heart?" does the opposite, lifting up without succumbing to traditional pop tropes. Most importantly, it moves Krell closer to the mainstream without sacrificing the emotional complexity of his music, proving that Krell is a musical force not to be underestimated. (Weird World)