How To Dress Well | Love Remains

Lefse Records (2010)
By ANDREW GRAHAM  |  November 2, 2010
3.0 3.0 Stars


In the dreamy, spacious world of How To Dress Well (one-man band Tom Krell), everything is light: the tone, the production, the vocals, the touch of each aural element. Bass is conspicuous in its near-absence, mid-ranges abound, and at times the treble knob seems to be wedged at 11. The overdriven mix crackles at its outer edges, evoking the surface-noise hiss and warm, nostalgic intimacy of an LP played on an old stereo. But the beauty — and the heart — of Love Remains lies in the contrast that Krell creates between its bright, lofty weightlessness and the cloudy ennui it expresses. "You Won't Need Me Where I'm Going" embodies the undertone of bleary-eyed, late-night desperation; "Ready for the World" gives him a chance to flourish his R&B /soul influences. Krell's falsetto vocals range from delicate to demanding, frequently ascending to the shimmeringly ephemeral. His deceptively fragile voice is the centerpiece around which the album's somnambulant soundscape revolves, augmented by austere arrangements that draw its overall melancholy into sharp relief. Bleak but never morbid, Love Remains gleams with white-hot sparks and dimly smoldering embers that give its darkness dimension.

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