Remember those polished soul records from the 1980’s and 1990’s, when the singer’s voice inspired comparisons to “melted chocolate”? Now imagine those singers recorded on a battered tape recorder and loaded with effects and the result would sound something like How To Dress Well; a project by philosophy student Tom Krell.
On the surface, the music seems just badly produced. The vocals sound as if someone secretly recorded Krell in another room. The reverb often threatens to take over the words, as wonky rhythms are interspersed with Krell’s falsetto. The end product is naturally disorientating but occasionally bordering on genius. At its very best, the lo-fi production imbues ‘Suicide Dream’ with an eerie resonance, ‘Endless Rain’ revolves around a hypnotic swingbeat motif, whilst the wondrous ‘You Don’t Need To Know Where I’m Goin’ is most reminiscent of turn-of-the-1990’s dreampop act A.R. Kane. Other songs resemble fascinating experimental demos from a once commercial act.
The overall album is akin to smooth R&B remixed by producers from the 4AD record label and – to take that reference further – the nearest modern day equivalent would be Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. Whatever the comparison though, Krell is an artist who actually merits the overused term of “otherworldly”.
A.R. Kane, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti