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.

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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

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