How to Dress Well
What Is This Heart?


4.5
superb

Review

by Guzzo CONTRIBUTOR (25 Reviews)
July 2nd, 2014 | 93 replies


Release Date: 06/24/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Tom Krell shows us how to properly step out of the shadows and into accessibility, and in doing so crafts 2014’s first pop AOTY contender.

Love is polarizing.

When it is at its highest point, it’s as though there isn’t anything that can make you feel that happy. But at the same time there is nothing stronger than the depression love can bring. In relationships we look for someone new, possibly someone who can relate with the same things that you relate to, or we look for someone completely different than ourselves; a person who can open up our minds to other ways of life that we never knew. Either way everyone is looking for something, and when we we find it, ironically we find out that there is something else we want. It a paradox, really, because as humans we will always want something else, or someone new, even after getting what we originally thought we wanted. Because in reality, we don’t chase love, we chase the process of love.

Welcome to the theme that How To Dress Well’s third LP brings us.

Whereas past How To Dress Well projects have been subdued in an atmosphere filled with lo-fi production mixed with Krell’s almost indecipherable pleads that relate to the downside of love, here we receive a more heart-on-sleeve Tom Krell. One moment his voice is breaking, and in the next his falsettos are crystal clear. Never has Tom Krell’s voice been showcased in the clearness that is on display here. Behind a haunting production that sees Krell’s pitch shifted voice bounce in and out of clarity, lead single “Face Again” pleads, “Just kiss me on my face again and tell me what love is supposed to be/ No I don’t think you know what’s best for me/ I don’t even know what’s best for me.” Krell’s confusion on love, where it is and how it’s lost, is the revolving theme throughout much of “What Is This Heart?” In all honesty, “What Is This Heart?” is more so an open journal into the meandering mind of its lead man than anything else. And it’s all the better for it. Perhaps the most defining moment on the album is found on the track “What You Wanted” where Krell is arguing with himself.


You never said just what you wanted when you wanted, I never told you when I was sad about it, I don't wanna wait until the dawn and tell myself I'll learn by morning, But I never listen to myself and I never said one word about it


And while the lyrics hit on so many levels, the production never gets outshined, rather rides hand-in-hand. Throughout the record, Krell uses crescendo’s to create structure behind his voice. Songs like “A Power” and “Pour Cyril” are amplified by the almost theatrical build-ups and breakdowns of trumpets, strings or piano samples. Like any good record, an album shouldn’t be controlled by just one aspect, but by its many parts coming together to create a wonderful spectacle. And that much rings true here as the upbeat moments of the Daft-Punk sounding “Repeat Pleasure” aren’t more important or better than the slowed down, James Blake-esque sounds “Words I Don’t Remember” or “See You Fall.” Actually, it creates longing of what’s next. And while the album can tend to feel like there are only two sounds going on – upbeat or slowed down – it doesn’t necessarily create a sense of boredom to the listener.

Oscar Wilde once said “Questions are never indiscreet, answers sometimes are.” With How To Dress Well’s third major outing, it’s almost as if it is a devotion to that quote. “What Is This Heart?” is most definitely an album based on moments, and much like its outlook on love, it’s the buildups that create the moment. And we receive these buildups and outstanding moments with every new track. Krell may never give us a direct answer to his questions, but the biggest revelation that he allows comes near the end with “A Power” as he says repeatedly “I don’t have the power, I don’t have the power”. It’s a revelation so emotionally moving in its crushing truth that it ends up being the moral of the album. And while Tom Krell may not have the power to understand why we humans do the things we do, he does have the ability to paint an emotionally distraught album behind why he can’t understand.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Guzzo10
Contributing Reviewer
July 2nd 2014


1043 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Must listens: What You Wanted, Face Again, Repeat Pleasure, Words I Don't Remember, A Power.



Actually, the whole album, but whatevs those are my favs from this. In my top 3 AOTY so far for sure

Phlegm
July 2nd 2014


4651 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

How to Impress Poorly lmao

Digging: Yung Lean - Unknown Memory

Guzzo10
Contributing Reviewer
July 2nd 2014


1043 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

HUAHUAHUAHUAHUAH




But seriously, Phlegm, whats wrong dude? Not what you were looking for with HTDW?

dcalderon
July 2nd 2014


302 Comments


Damn that album cover.

Calc
July 2nd 2014


12191 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

is this guy's voice considered good? like what are people hearing here thats so good?

Digging: Jizue - Shiori

bach
July 2nd 2014


12598 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"like what are people hearing here thats so good?"

his voice

Digging: Tim Hecker - Haunt Me, Haunt Me Do It Again

Gyromania
July 2nd 2014


15712 Comments


probably his best album

Guzzo10
Contributing Reviewer
July 2nd 2014


1043 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I think its definitely his best. This is exactly where I was hoping his style would take him

Gyromania
July 2nd 2014


15712 Comments


i knew his style would evolve into this after total loss, and i couldn't be happier that it did.

good review btw, but some sentences should be reworked and you occasionally use full stops instead of finishing sentences. "Either way everyone is looking for something. And ironically we always find it, and then find out that there is something else we want."

no need for a full stop here. i'd join those two sentences and maybe make the irony seem more apparent. the way it's worded it doesn't make a lot of sense because you're basically saying everyone looks for something and it's ironic when they find it, and that is certainly not ironic. i'd say something like "the irony is that when we find it, we decide we want something else"

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
July 2nd 2014


31168 Comments


is this guy's voice considered good? like what are people hearing here thats so good?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qX3WcfjVQs

Digging: LV and Joshua Idehen - Islands

Azn.
July 2nd 2014


5609 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"this video does not exist"

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
July 2nd 2014


31168 Comments


Lies, I just watched it

Azn.
July 2nd 2014


5609 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

it's working for me now, not sure what the dealio was before

DatBeefPudding
July 2nd 2014


1315 Comments


his face

Digging: The Contortionist - Language

IronGiant
July 2nd 2014


812 Comments


this guy's voice pisses me off for some reason. would much rather have new James Blake

Calc
July 2nd 2014


12191 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

I dunno, I watched the video and I hear his voice but don't see why it's better than the averagely trained head singer. Reminds me of the high pitched black kid from Sister Act 2.

Guzzo10
Contributing Reviewer
July 2nd 2014


1043 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Thanks for the constructive criticism Gyro, I was actually contemplating changing that up before I read it. You saying that tilted me over the edge, and I reworded it.


Also, thank you for the feature, Dev! Or I assume you are the one who got this featured haha.



silentstar
July 3rd 2014


2253 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album is perf

SpritzSpritz
July 3rd 2014


528 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

serious aoty contender.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
July 3rd 2014


31168 Comments


You're welcome



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