5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
25. Look sharp!,
This review is from: What Is This Heart? (Audio CD)
Coming across the cover photo of a young man's face set in a sullen expression, conveying hurt and pain so subtly, I had to click on it for details, as I could not figure out which was the name of the artist/band and which the title of the album between "How to dress well" and "What is this heart?". HTDW is the stage name of songwriter/producer Tom Krell, whose debut solo "Love remains" was released in 2009, followed by "Total loss" (2012). Several videos of theirs are available on youtube lists, among them the wonderful "Ready for the world" and "Decisions", which were minor hits when first released. Looking for previous albums, "Total loss" was the only one I could find. It might be early for a clear and formed opinion, but I find that album totally engaging and very accessible. 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 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. I may be new to his work, but I can fully appreciate both HTDW and "WITH?". This is an exquisite album of an artist unafraid to experiment, and with much conviction, without sacrificing the emotional complexity of their music, proof of a genuine musical force. 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 this, and am most certainly pleased for doing so. Call it superficial, but that is how I learned about how to dress well!