Featured image courtesy of Thomas Levinson
How to Dress Well has certainly come a long way from 2009, when he was self releasing his free EP’s on his blog. However, How to Dress Well is no stranger to making great music. How to Dress Well’s past two records, Total Loss (2012) and What is this Heart? (2014) both received a “Best New Music” nod from Pitchfork. As he prepares to release his fourth full-length album on September 23rd on Domino Records, it’s clear that he wants to keep evolving his sound. That means that Tom Krell, the man behind the magic of How to Dress Well, hasn’t stopped experimenting.
Care is definitely his pop-iest album to date. In the past, Krell’s earlier lo-fi music appealed to a very specific audience, but this isn’t the case with Care. While there is a lot of pop, you can see a lot of R&B and Indie influences, and it’s an album that has the ability to appeal to a very broad audience. It’s also an album that you can take with you in almost any situation. There are songs for a relaxing night at home, date night, dancing on the beach, or driving with the windows down. Krell gives you everything you could need on Care.
The record is full of intimate songs like “Lost Youth / Lost You” and “Can’t you Tell;” the latter of the two Krell describes as a “sex positivity anthem.” However, the Album also includes “Anxious,” a song where Krell opens up a bit, singing “why am I so pathetic / why am I addicted to such attention / and all I want is that love and affection / had a nightmare about my twitter mentions.” The more intimate songs are definitely the standouts of the album, but the diversity he gives us throughout the album means that you won’t be taking this record off repeat for a while.
Care is filled with cool synths and pop beats, but balances them well with quieter instruments, like strings. With an album that has so many electronic elements, it can sometimes sound monotonous, but Krell uses many different sounds to keep the album interesting and fresh, and the album never hits that point of “too much.” Just as soon as you think it may start to become overwhelming, Krell quiets it down, and strips it down. Salt Song, the second song on the album, is a perfect example of this. The six and a half minute long song starts with soothing strings, but when the beat kicks in, it makes you want to dance. While six and a half minutes may seem like a long time, the way the song ebbs and flows between the calm sections and the electronic drum beats is executed so well that you don’t want it to end.
Then, you get to perhaps Krell’s most powerful instrument – his voice. He has an incredible range, and has no problem hitting the high notes, and difficult harmonies. His voice packs an emotional punch, and immediately strengthens any song, regardless of the lyrics that he’s singing.
How To Dress Well has also announced a Fall U.S tour in support Care. You can catch him October 1st playing at Philly’s own Boot and Saddle! Get your tickets here.