How to Dress Well: Just Once EP

By , Jul 19 2011

Available on: Yours Truly EP

When How to Dress Well played London recently, it wasn’t a perfect show, but it was revelatory in one sense: it proved that he had a really good voice.

It almost sounds absurd that this should be a revelation when How to Dress Well is so constantly discussed in terms of his falsetto, but it’s easy to forget how far from the foreground that Tom Krell’s vocals are at parts of his debut album Love Remains. And as beautiful as Love Remains is, there’s always been a little part of me that was sceptical of it: with Krell’s voice so deep in the mix amongst all those resampled pop songs (of which I suspect there are more than just the Jodeci and Ready for the World bits that most know by now), it’s easy to start thinking about smoke and mirrors.

So although Just Once, a new four-track EP by Krell that features “orchestral” versions of songs from Love Remains and is dedicated to a recently deceased friend, is clearly designed as a personal anomaly (these will, apparently, be the only How to Dress Well songs made in this manner), it also proves a point. Against a clearer, more organic backing, Krell’s voice is more exposed than ever, and he excels under this pressure to an astonishing degree. New track ‘Suicide Dream 3’ in particular is staggering: a chalk-coloured lament that’s flattening and addictive in equal measures, and marks one of the best How to Dress Well songs yet.

Tam Gunn

3.5
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