Leftfield R&B’s album of the year
After his pioneering brand of chillwave-R&B took the hipstersphere by storm in 2010, Tom Krell’s luck ran out when, last year, a death in the family left the New Yorker clinically depressed. “The only bad part about flying”, ponders an angelic street kid on ‘Say My Name’, “is having to come back down to the fucking world”. With the realisation that for hope to blossom, a grief-fogged mind needs clarity, on ‘Total Loss’ Krell has emerged blinking from behind chillwave’s anaesthetic shroud. And with nowhere to hide he’s had to develop as a musician. Squired by The xx producer Rodaidh McDonald, this second album is hugely accomplished, traversing skittish Janet Jackson-style ballads, string-laden hymns and neo-soul with ease, while Krell lets his now exposed voice do most of the talking to humbling effect. Add in silky Michael Jackson slowjams and Mariah Carey girlpop, and the result is leftfield R&B’s album of the year.