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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Look sharp!, 23 Jun. 2014
Scarlet Jupiter - See all my reviews
This review is from: What Is This Heart? (Audio CD)
Just recently, during my routine search for new music releases, I came across a young man's face set in a sullen expression, conveyying hurt and pain so subtly that I had to click on the photo for details. "How to dress well" and "What is this heart?" was the info, somewhat confusing, as I could not figure out which was the name of the artist / band and which the title of the album. HTDW is the stage name of songwriter / producer Tom Krell, whose debut solo "Love remains" was released in 2009, followed by the critically acclaimed "Total loss" (2012). Several videos of theirs are available on youtube lists, among them the wonderful "Ready for the world" and "Decisions" which apparently were minor hits when first released.

Having read reviews for "What is this heart?" as well as for previous albums, apparently this new record might be moving HTDW closer to the mainstream. Looking for previous albums, "Total loss" was the only one I could find and, although it might be a little too soon to have formed an opinion about it, I find that album totally accessible and engaging. Back to the new album, the most recent videos "Repeat pleasure" and "Face again", are singles off this new set, part of a trilogy soon to be completed. I have been listening to the new songs for the past week on repeat, and I have to admit that the sound of them is exactly what the cover's melancholic portrait suggests: intimate, emotive, confessional, poignant, unpretentious, bold.

The most unexpected musical palette comes to life as the record progresses from the pop minimalism of opener "2 Years on (Shame dream)", to the psychedelic sparseness of closing "House inside (Future is older than the past)". HTDW confidently switches between styles, incorporating electronic textures, ambient soundscapes, orchestral waves, dubstep backdrops, all fittingly complimenting his emotion-fuelled songwriting, and bravely accompanied by the staggering vocal power of his falsetto. And to top it all off, the production, so delicate and sophisticated, a true work of art. Had it not been for Lana Del Rey's impeccable "Ultraviolence", this could well be this year's most phenomenal release.

I may be new to his work, but I can appreciate both HTDW and "What is this heart?"; an exquisite album of an artist unafraid to experiment to such an extent, and with such conviction, without sacrificing the emotional complexity of their music, proof of a musical force not to be underestimated. I found them randomly, loved them instantly. One should not judge a book, or a record in this case, by its cover, but I guess everyone has at some point. I, too, have done so, and am most certainly pleased for doing so. Call it superficial ...but that is how I learned about how to dress well!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart and Soul, 25 Jun. 2014
The Wolf (uk) - See all my reviews
This review is from: What Is This Heart? (Audio CD)
Tom Krell's last album 'Total Loss' (2012) was a thing of real beauty.
It wasn't just the pristine artfulness of the songs; it was THAT voice.
An extraordinary instrument with the power to take one's breath away.
(The song 'Cold Nights' still sends shivers up and down my spine!)

It remains to be seen whether or not his new album will make a significant
impact on a wider audience in The Listening World but it certainly deserves to.

There are twelve numbers in the set and Mr Krell may well have delivered
his finest moment so-far in the sublime opening song '2 Years On (Shame
Dream)' an intense exploration of personal loss and regret; so brutally vivid
and soulful that it almost hurts to hear it. This introduction is a hard act to
follow but elsewhere this hugely talented artist opens up a whole lot of new
doors and windows in terms of his musical development. 'Face Again' is a
rich and theatrical invention, full of dark textures and a palpable sense of
heightened anxiety and drama; so too the quasi-mystical 'A Power', almost
bursting at the seams with pounding rhythms and lacerating vocal harmonies
and the simply sublime final track 'House Inside (Future is Older Than The Past)'
in which we experience our host's impeccable falsetto echoing out into infinity.

'What Is This Heart?' is a testament to its creator's ingenuity, honesty and humility.

Highly Recommended.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Go is good! Just not ground breaking..., 13 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
His voice is starting to bother me now as he is still trying to carry on that old sound from his previous album. The instrumentals are fresh and new sounding. The melodies are there but so are the whiny lyrics and use of word "baby." I look forward to the day this guy matures as I think he's still too young to write something truly amazing. It is a good album though, decent length and variety. Definitely worth picking up if you're a fan...
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What Is This Heart?
What Is This Heart? by How to Dress Well (Audio CD - 2014)
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