How to Dress Well
What Is This Heart?


4.5
superb

Review

by Tony Li USER (36 Reviews)
July 2nd, 2014 | 35 replies


Release Date: 06/24/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A look into Tom Krell's beautiful, brooding heart

R&B has acquired a rather off-putting reputation in recent times; song structuring has been stripped down to very basic bridge-chorus arrangements and many a vocalist have been neutered by oppressive production values. Consider Sam Smith, his potential, and his recent lackluster release. What Is This Heart?, Tom Krell's third full-length as How to Dress Well, is a totally different kind of stripped down; while his music has always been minimalist to showcase his impressive songwriting strength, What Is This Heart? benefits from more robust production, feeling much more alive as a result. It's an intelligently constructed effort that swims in hazy emotion. Many comparisons will be drawn between this album and others, such as Frank Ocean's Channel Orange and James Blake's Overgrown, and they are not without merit.

This brand of moody, soulful music has been done before, but Krell manages to make it sound fresh with a variety of ideas. Acoustic guitar, piano, synth-soaked strings, and even an electric guitar solo can be found on the album, and while this might seem like a hodgepodge of very different textures, Krell makes it work by not overdoing it on any front. Even though the focus of this album is undoubtedly on his vocal performance, he hits the right notes with everything else too, using instruments to sustain emotion or to add yet more layers of memorable melody. "2 Years On" and "Repeat Pleasure" are extremely different tracks, one being a very subdued slow track, the other being a beat-driven cacophony. And it makes sense; you need to keep your listener's attention by switching things up. Krell manages to do this so consistently well that the whole album flows impressively, sustaining itself over a rather long runtime despite being more modest-sounding than similar pop affairs. He isn't afraid to draw things out and play with tension, nor is he afraid to unleash his prominent pop sensibilities to buffer the slower tracks.

What Is This Heart? is rich in its stark, bare-bones emotion, offering earworm after earworm to whoever cares to sift through its contents. Every single song is polished and tweaked to stand strong on its own, while still allowing the cumulative product to be called 'cohesive'. At its core, it's a pleasant, accessible collection of some of this year's most well thought-out pop songs. This is the new centerpiece of Tom Krell's discography, and possibly his entire career so far.



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user ratings (130)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
JerzyNebraska (4)
Twisted hearts on fire....

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Tom Krell shows us how to properly step out of the shadows and into accessibility, and in doing so c...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Lotus
July 1st 2014


506 Comments


Sweet new how to dress well. Good review.

Phlegm
July 1st 2014


5127 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

really struggling to see the appeal with this one

Digging: Dirty Beaches - Stateless

bach
July 1st 2014


12910 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

but i never listen to myself and I never said one word about it *in tom krell voice*

Digging: Caribou - Our Love

Lotus
July 1st 2014


506 Comments


hmm what you wanted is decent but it's not as good as anything on love remains

bach
July 1st 2014


12910 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

everything on this album is on par or better than love remains and that's coming from a love remains fanatic

Phlegm
July 1st 2014


5127 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

just got back from the lab and my tests have shown that your statement is wrong sorry :-(

YakNips
July 1st 2014


11967 Comments


I heard the first song on this and it didnt really appeal to me but I should give another chance

Digging: Purge. - Sewage

bach
July 1st 2014


12910 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

that's the only song on this album like that.

YakNips
July 1st 2014


11967 Comments


ah okay

bach
July 1st 2014


12910 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

the others aren't as minimal

YakNips
July 1st 2014


11967 Comments


Ill be sure to listen to it in full ASAP

Calc
July 1st 2014


12251 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

http://www.weirdworldrecordco.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/What-Is-This-Heart-Final-Packshot.jpg


http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-eZowWQDCAak/Ub9m1H_uOTI/AAAAAAAB9FI/9uDbvrBIoTg/s1600/Manu_Ginobili.jpg

Calc
July 1st 2014


12251 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

album is fucking lame btw, nothing about it is above mediocre

Azn.
July 1st 2014


5612 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

sorry to hear you guys don't like the album, I'm getting lots of enjoyment from this one

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
July 2nd 2014


10288 Comments


i probably will love this

apokolypz
July 2nd 2014


334 Comments


Face Again is sooooo good.

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
July 2nd 2014


7026 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"precious love" is fucking addictive

bach
July 2nd 2014


12910 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

calc don't you have to make a list about how your life is so much better than everyone else's? tom krell love only itt

Calc
July 2nd 2014


12251 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Nah man my fucking knee kills right now....

bach
July 2nd 2014


12910 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

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