How To Dress Well - Total Loss

Tom Krell is something of an enigmatic figure. Performing under the moniker How To Dress Well since 2009, the philosophy graduate originally made a name for himself anonymously posting lo-fi tracks online for free. Total Loss sees a darker Krell, moving away from his previous dreamy optimism to a much deeper ocean of suggestion.

Whilst his vocals on debut full-length Love Remains were vastly inaudible, the lyrics this time round are less fuzzy, occasionally even sing-along worthy. On ‘Running Back’ Krell whispers fragments of Ashanti’s ‘Foolish’ over a foundation of minimal beat-boxing percussion, his falsetto unmistakable; a haunting coating to his slickly produced R&B rhythms. Having previously sampled everyone from Blackstreet to Coil to Debussy, ‘Say My Name Or Whatever’ ingeniously opens with a monologue from Martin Bell’s 1984 documentary about homeless teens on the streets of Seattle: "The only bad part about flying is having to come back down to the fucking world," protagonist Rat drawls, before crashing into the Swinomish Channel off an 80ft bridge. It’s distinctly ethereal, and you can’t help but feel you’ve encroached on something deeply personal with this album. The low-fi recording gives a sense of bedroom intimacy, and Krell’s themes are dark: all death, loss and unapologetic melancholy, heavily medicated by hazy beats. Deeply haunting, but beautiful nevertheless.

Overall

8

out of 10

Last updated: 07/08/2018 00:55:27

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