How To Dress Well – The Anteroom

A musician who’s seen darkness but is ready to face the world all over again.
Label: Domino
Released: 19th October 2018
Rating: ★★★

Tom Krell has done a bit of everything in his recording career as How To Dress Well. From hazy electronic beginnings to a pop awakening on his last album ‘Care’, Krell has now returned to the lo-fi sound poetry that has always been the core of How To Dress Well on ‘The Anteroom’.

The brightness of Krell’s most recent albums is largely eschewed here for a darker, gauzy hue. The album is intended as one long, continuous piece of music and as such it makes for an immersive but sometimes labyrinthine experience.

Fractured and disturbed beats flutter in the background like looming shadows while the deeply emotive vocals of Krell tremble and add emotional resonance to these fragile electronic pieces.

A song like ‘Body Fat’ is a beautiful example of the meeting point between Krell’s natural soul and his experimental tendencies while ‘July 13 No Hope No Pain’ spins things out further to the extreme with its hyper speed beats and spoken work vocal. Towards the end of the album the heavy beats of ‘Brutal’ and its spellbinding classical samples showcase all of Krell’s talents as an electronic pop auteur. Returning to his natural instincts suits him.

Just like all How To Dress Well’s albums though, the lyrics are a frequently touching and tender illumination into Tom Krell’s psyche. The sounds may float in and out and at times disturb and sooth but the lyrics provide the album’s anchor.

‘The Anteroom’ is a return somewhat to an old approach but is certainly far from a regression from a musician who’s seen darkness but is ready to face the world all over again.

Martyn Young

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