Thursday, November 25, 2010

How to Dress Well: Love Remains (2010)


(Lefse)

!! CAUTION !!

The ghostly soul music notion that drives this project by Brooklyn graduate student Tom Krell is a nice idea. Possibly by design, though, the resulting album takes a potentially beautiful idea and squanders it with excessively lo-fi trappings. The distortion, microphone feedback, and clipping don't fall into a musical place at all. That may be the point, but it doesn't make for pleasant listening to anyone who cringes when a balloon gets rubbed.

Krell seems intrigued by musical decay, and his hand-me-down Michael Jackson and Whispers melodies are worthwhile; he has some potential as a songwriter. His singing is more dubious; though convincingly noctural, it never betrays much emotion that feels genuinely like his own. As an arranger and producer, despite his well-reasoned ambitions, his blends of drone and R&B aren't ready to gel yet. If you're at all bugged by the sound of damaged tape, stay away. If you love the sound of damaged tape, buy this immediately. If it distresses you to hear perfectly decent pop songs addled by damaged tape, well, you just don't get it, maan. I don't either. Happy Thanksgiving; sorry for the short review.

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