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"What Is This Heart?"

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Editors’ Notes

Tom Krell speaks in R&B, cloaked in the reassuring, unassuming wrappings of intimate indie pop. His voice is silky and limber and flows with ease and grace, like the best R&B singers—just without getting lost in the trappings of dance beats and saxophones. The Colorado artist has steadily refined his sound for his third album, “What Is This Heart?”. Krell’s cynical lyrics (“Tell me what love’s supposed to be,” "Who knows if I love you, baby?”), his regal synth washes (“Face Again” has a stupefying numbers of soundscapes for such a cohesive track), and the collection’s dark, hope-perforated tones (especially on “See You Fall”) are inarguably seductive. Disembodied vocals, fingersnaps, and plentiful reverb might offer no real surprises, but delivering those (masterfully used) alongside sweeps of orchestral grandeur (“Pour Cyril”) and commercial pop sensibilities (“Very Best Friend”) takes special vision. Influences as disparate as Prince, Michael Jackson, Tracy Chapman, and even Whitney Houston have never been treated like this.

Customer Reviews

Glorious

The most beautiful and thoughtful album of 2014 next to Sun Kil Moon's Benji

Great

Going by the two songs that are available now, I can tell this is going to be their best album yet. Repeat Pleasure is on Repeat :) very chill alt r&b. Love it!

His best album yet.

The dramatic production that carries the album is an unmistakeable match for his poetic lyrics and soft singing dynamics. He has reduced the amount of reverb used on his vocals making the material clearer; yet, without reducing the ambience-based feel experienced on his first two albums.

Biography

Born: Germany

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Research fellow Tom Krell makes ghostly, lo-fi R&B under the moniker How to Dress Well, a name he stumbled upon and adopted as his own in a Minneapolis bookstore in 2004. As a little boy, Krell loved late-'80s and early-'90s R&B artists including Keith Sweat and Ready for the World, and since he was a late bloomer, he could sing along to songs by female vocalists well into his teens. However, in high school he played in various metal and hardcore bands, then switched to making drone-based music in...
Full Bio
"What Is This Heart?", How to Dress Well
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Customer Ratings

Contemporaries