Music Review: How To Dress Well's "What Is This Heart?"

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How To Dress Well is Tom Krell, a 29-year-old philosophy junkie pursuing his Ph.D at DePaul University.

As if he didn't have enough on his plate as it is, Krell just released his third studio album, "What Is This Heart?"

Don't be dissuaded by the name of this project. In his latest effort, Krell really steps up to the plate, making a record that is soulful and catchy while remaining up-close and personal. Songs like "Repeat Pleasure" serve as perfect example of what makes How To Dress Well so special.

It's a dance-able, it's poppy, yet at points it transcends pop conventions for some truly beautiful moments. The very next song, "Words I Don't Remember", starts off intoxicatingly reserved, and slowly builds up to an epic, synth-laden, R&B crescendo (think Frank Ocean's "Pyramids").

Still, "What Is This Heart?" is peppered with more intimate moments, such as towards the end of "What You Wanted", where the swirling instrumentals fall away, and leave you with Krell's voice just barely above a whisper: "You just never said just what you wanted when you wanted".

The instrumentation here is truly top-notch, ranging from the traditional moody synths and sparse drum beat to illustrious orchestral backing. The only time when this album falls flat is when Krell goes acoustic (I'm looking at you, "2 Years On"), straying from the lush production that we love him for.

Still, the good moments on "What Is This Heart?" outweigh the bad 100 to 1. Overall, this album is an excellent addition to How To Dress Well's repertoire of recordings and is definitely a great listen.

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