Text by Joe K.
How To Dress Well is ‘Renaissance man’ Tom Krell; he is working on a philosophy doctorate by day and swooning the pants off of the ladies by night with his brand of electro-RnB. His third album, What Is This Heart?, came out late June.
His late 80’s/early 90’s R&B influences bursts through with every verse, and each track is filled with either a healthy dose of electro-pop (“Repeat Pleasure”) or lovely minimalist instrumentation (“See You Fall”). The achingly fragile “2 Years On” and follow-up “What You Wanted”,sound like they are coming from two different albums, but work so well together. Haunting landscapes – like those showcased in the opening track and “Words I Don’t Remember” – provide real atmosphere (Mr. Krell knows how to set a damn scene).
It was inevitable that the “sap-factor” would rear its sweet head sooner or later, and it does on tracks like “Pour Cyril” and “Precious Love”. Krell’s high pitched vocals combined with his aspartame-like lyrics would normally be as welcome as hearing the “O-O-O-O’Reilly Auto Parts” commercial one more time (thank you, Spotify!!), but “Precious Love” is too catchy to hate.
Unfortunately, the last third of the album sputters along a bit with some ‘so-so’ tracks (“Childhood Faith In Love”, and don’t get me started with “Very Best Friend”). “House Inside” ends the album with a proclamation, “This world is such a pretty, pretty thing” and brings back that atmospheric glory coupled with soaring crescendoes.
Every song here sounds magnificent and earnest lyrics are a successful match most of the time – albeit nothing groundbreaking. Hopefully, your ladies are all wearing tight belts while listening to this one…