Album review: How To Dress Well - Total Loss

No signs of difficult-second-album syndrome here. Total Loss is a genuinely intriguing record that deserves to be in your life.

Berlin-based songwriter/producer Tom Krell, aka HTDW, has produced a startling sophomore record.

While the sparing, beat-based arrangements and intimate atmospherics may ape Jamie Woon on first listen, Total Loss has a beguiling emotional depth.

Moving on from the narcotised R&B of 2009 debut Love Remains, Krell harnessed “loss as a source of creative energy” over 15 months.

He comes out with some luminous, haunting compositions marrying programmed beats with wooden percussion, delicate strings and impassioned falsetto.

Krell’s songs defy production sheen for a raw, edgier feel, as if we’re sitting by him in his bedroom as he splices and dices on a laptop.

Both swooning and plucked violins instruct the beautiful melancholy of World I Need You, Won’t Be Without You, while echo-laden vocals make Struggle feel positively ethereal despite the faltering beats beneath.

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Total Loss could be one of the most emotive, evocative electro-crossover records ever made.

4 stars