If 808s & Heartbreak is Kanye West’s radical departure into self-examination, Total Loss is Tom Krell disintegrating into thin cold air, avoiding interruptions and interventions to witness his own skin and world rotting before him. It’s deep shit for a rhythm and blues record but there’s nothing conventional or rather, innocent about How To Dress Well’s love for channelling pain into an essential form of attraction. Krell’s voice is still convicting and its because he wants it to be. Labouring through the strain of reminiscing (“Struggle”), dissolving relationships (“& It Was U”) and settling for less (“Ocean Floor For Everything”), he’s never disjointed from his moody compositions, turning R&B into ethereal tenderness all with the thud of a minimalist beat, a swell of reverb or a carnal array of keys. Fixed on discomfort, Total Loss isn’t just bedroom pop given a cold touch; it’s How To Dress Well arresting intimacy and letting us know that art can you leave in critical condition if the taste of heartbreak is nothing but a stranger’s touch.
Download: “Cold Nites”, “Talking To You”, “World I Need You, Won’t Be Without You”
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