How to Dress Well – The Anteroom
For his fifth album using the How to Dress Well moniker as an intravenous exploration of the hold that music has over our fragile human hearts, Tom Krell has perfected his process
Your skull is the stage for Tom Krell’s latest album as How to Dress Well. The Anteroom shines a torch into the nooks and crannies of your brain, experimenting with the strange acoustics produced in such a cavernous space.
On each of his records, Krell has riffed on the snippets of music you might hear every day. Smooth FM leaking nostalgia from the window of a passing car, the glossy sheen of mainstream pop, the tight grip of feeling in genres as disparate as emo, EDM, classical or trap. The Anteroom mediates all these things (and so much more) with characteristically curatorial flair through a return to the introspective electronica that marked his earlier work. Muted in comparison to the neon colours of 2016's Care, it deals in shadows and ghosts, sweetness and sweat.
Cut-up song titles reappear re-numbered elsewhere on the record, making the track list feel more like a map than a plan. Co-produced by Oneohtrix Point Never collaborator Joel Ford, each song twists into a surprise. July 13 No Hope No Pain sets a garage-lite beat shivering behind introspective, bedroom-pop lyrics. Body Fat is a sparse, twinkling ballad. On Love Means Taking Action, heartbreak swings into the rear-view mirror. 'She said you owe the love that I gave / That I can’t replace,' he sings, as the title’s five words swim in and out of vision like a bad drunk dream before finding full, blinding clarity.
Nonkilling 3 | The Anteroom | False Skull 1 dips into industrial techno release, and Brutal (feat. Ocean Vuong) | False Skull 5 sets up a trip-hop beat and a sweep of strings that build for a brief moment into a cinematic soundscape, before swerving somewhere else entirely. Krell’s jaw-dropping falsetto hangs overhead like a haunting.
For his fifth album using the How to Dress Well moniker as an intravenous exploration of the hold that music has over our fragile human hearts, Krell has perfected his process.
Listen to: July 13 No Hope No Pain, Nonkilling 3 | The Anteroom | False Skull 1, Brutal (feat. Ocean Vuong) | False Skull 5