What Is This Heart?

Tom Krell, the velvet voice of How to Dress Well, is at his best when he's most vulnerable. His early recordings were grief-stricken and raw; subsequent releases have expanded and refined his sound without ever quite reaching the same heights. Krell's third LP continues to elevate his R&B-inflected music into sonic clarity, though his emotions remain muddled as ever. The spare, lovely intro "2 Years On (Shame Dream)" puts his multitracked falsetto over minimal instrumentation; on "Face Again," he cries, "I don't even know what's best for me" – a concise summary of the album's themes. Krell may be preoccupied with his failure to change, but this record makes it clear he's working on it.

From The Archives Issue 1212: July 3, 2014