NME.COM

How To Dress Well - 'What Is This Heart?'

Tom Krell flexes his R&B muscles but is better when he sticks to his chilltronic roots

Press
  • Release Date 24 Jun, 2014
  • Producer Rodaidh McDonald
  • Record Label Weird World
5 / 10
Though Tom Krell, aka HTDW, is fiercely "credible", he's also pop. The American namechecks Spiritualized, Mark Kozelek and Lou Reed, and even recorded this chilltronic third album – where else? – in Berlin. But since the sonic mist from his neo-soul 2010 debut ‘Love Remains’ cleared, his elastic-tonsil R&B voice has aligned him closer to Daniel Bedingfield and R Kelly than James Blake and Bon Iver, no matter how much minimalist chiming, fuzzy synths and potting-the-black beats he slavers onto ‘What You Wanted’. His attempts to revolutionise, strip bare and stretch the borders of R&B with all manner of glitches, gollums and glaciers are admirable, but it’s only when he tranquilizes his inner Usher for the downbeat piano throb of ‘See You Fall’, the spectral orchestration of ‘Pour Cyril’ and the acoustic minimalism of ‘2 Years On (Shame Dream)’ that he achieves the subtlety and invention of, say, Sufjan Stevens. For the rest, he’s just another hipster with a laptop.

Mark Beaumont

Share This

More Reviews

'Bad Neighbours 2' - Film Review

A smarter and more mature film than the first Bad Neighbours, albeit one that still loves a good dick joke

Movie

Richard Ashcroft - 'These People' Review

A satisfying return to Verve form that’s also a churning maelstrom of death, riots, revolution, terrorism and two-faced politicians

Album

Kygo - 'Cloud Nine' Review

Medium-sized guests and the vibey sounds of tropical house combine on an album that's not quite euphoric

Album
Tickets
Connect With Us
This Week's Magazine