Like Bruce Wayne and Batman, Clark Kent and Superman and any other superheroes you care to think of Tom Krell lives a double life. By day a research fellow translating a book of post-Kantian philosophy in Germany, which is fairly impressive in its own right, but Krell’s alter-ego How To Dress Well is even more impressive, even more than the aforementioned caped crusaders themselves. Love Remains is his debut LP, a collection of highlights from numerous EPs he has released on his blog over the past year or so and is, to be perfectly honest is a complete masterpiece verging on perfection.
A lot has been made in various corners about Krell’s R&B influences on this record, and although audible throughout, Love Remains is so much more than simply a lo-fi take on 80s, 90s and 00s R&B music. From the outset although his beautiful and fragile falsetto is clearly influenced by R&B, in terms of just how perfect, catchy and memorable the melodies are (seriously once they get inside your head they won’t leave) the crackly electronics, static, reverb and distortion which he sings over, result in a sound fairly far removed from the typical polished and smooth R&B mould he clearly loves and is influenced heavily by.
The way that Krell successfully blends this R&B aesthetic with the aforementioned vast collection of haunting, atmospheric and ghostly sounds is staggering, resulting in a fascinating, powerful and original piece of work. I’m reluctant to pick highlights from Love Remains. They are plentiful, but part of the charm of the record is the way it is constructed, songs flow into one another completely effortlessly. It feels as if it was made to listen to from beginning to end, with no interruptions whatsoever. Without exception every single track is perfect enough to stand on its own as evidence of Krell’s genius. Although saying that, I do have a bit of a soft spot for ‘You Won’t Need Me Where I’m Goin’, Krell’s simple refrain swooning over a bed of fuzz and distortion.
I’m aware this may read as a rather obsessive adoration of Tom Krell (I did try to keep my gushing to a minimum, honest) but he is an incredibly talented musician who has created a flawless debut. When it was released in America last year, I’m not ashamed to admit that it took over my life for weeks. It is more than an album; it is an experience and a truly breath taking and heart wrenching one at that, an experience you will get addicted to and fall in love with. Simply stunning.
From Alex Walker.