Singer/songwriter Tony Krell, better known as How To Dress Well, has been highly acclaimed by various critics and reviewers since the release of his debut album Love Remains in 2010. He tasted similar critical success with his sophomore effort Total Loss in 2012, which was said to have been “a work of poignant and devastating art” by Pitchfork Media’s Ian Cohen. Third time lucky is the saying, so it would be no surprise if How To Dress Well’s third studio album What Is This Heart? has been highly anticipated by critics and fans alike.
Minimalistic is probably the best way to describe initial track 2 Years On (Shame Dream), there’s not a lot going on with the song so it makes a smooth introduction to the album; Krell’s vocals sound a little Ed Sheeran-esque, so to speak. What You Wanted remains similar, but one minute into the track the beat and the bass kick in and give it life before the strings soar much later. There’s something darker about Face Again, the sound effects and instrumentation creates a sinister kind of an atmosphere; See You Fall was a little painful to listen to in parts, but when the hook kicks in it improves. Lead single Repeat Pleasure is a more upbeat number, kind of a mix between pop and electronica; Words I Don’t Remember kicks off with some edgy synths, however it becomes a bit of a drag and you just want it to evolve into something more exciting.
Pour Cyril is introduced with a breezy acapella sequence, the strings sound as if it would be perfect for a movie score; a little bit of contemporary pop music can be heard in Precious Love, the opening hook is catchy and makes for a good sing along song. Childhood Faith In Love (Everything Must Change, Everything Must Stay The Same) has a lot of noise going on, it’s difficult to focus on the track as a whole; A Power begins as such, the beat is strong and the piano being played is the driver, before the vocals come in to set the track in stone. Krell sings an ode to a Very Best Friend, the lyrics are quite touching and the song doesn’t sound too bad either; House Inside (Future Is Older Than The Past) ends the album on a sonically different note, the acoustic guitar breaks the electronica barrier and shows us a more raw side to Krell before everything kicks in to give the track more of an edge.
What Is This Heart? was an edgy effort from How To Dress Well, Krell explored places other songwriters may not have the courage to experiment with. There were times where you just didn’t know where the music was going, but you knew the album was in safe hands as Krell knows exactly what he wants out of his albums. I’m sure the same critics will rave positively about the new album, How To Dress Well doesn’t seem to disappoint very often, it is a strong release for its genre which is safe to say falls snugly into the electronica genre. Combine the sound of Chet Faker’s Built On Glass album and Ed Sheeran’s vocal, and then you’ll have How To Dress Well’s new album, Where Is This Heart?