whatisthisheartArtist: How to Dress Well
Album: “What Is This Heart?”
Release Date: June 24, 2014
Label: Weird World

Along with most music lovers, I was losing faith in today’s pop music.

That was until I heard How To Dress Well’s third full-length album “What Is This Heart?” How To Dress Well is the stage name for Colorado-born musician Tom Krell, whose love for R&B has led him to push the boundaries of pop on his latest release.

Not quite R&B and not quite electronic, How To Dress Well manages to synthesize the best components of each genre to create a soulful, ambient sound. The album begins with a single acoustic-guitar note that lingers in the air, what follows is a dive deep into Krell’s subconscious. He creates a mosaic of sound on each track by combining his crooning falsetto, catchy beats, strange sounds, and layers of his warped vocals in the background. What results are soulful pop anthems, soaring Spiritualized-esque ballads, and bouncy dance tunes that will make you contemplate your existence.

My favorite track off the album is the spooky single, Face Again, which combines a hypnotic beat with nightmarish backing vocals reminiscent of something off of Yeezus.

 Krell is known for the melancholy subject matter addressed in his music, the death of a close friend right before the release of his debut album Love Remains is a frequent theme throughout his discography. It’s obvious that he continues to exorcise some demons during “What Is This Heart?” yet he manages to end on a high note. The final song, House Inside, begins with Krell’s stripped down vocals accompanied by a few strums of the acoustic guitar, which then blossoms into a riveting ballad chanting, “This world is such a pretty thing.”

By the end of “What Is This Heart?” Krell had taken me on an emotional journey that left me with a restored faith in humanity and pop music.

How To Dress Well will be performing in San Diego at The Casbah on Thursday, August 21st.

By: Samantha Shaffer