How To Dress Well - The Anteroom - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

How To Dress Well - The Anteroom

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:7 Release Date:2018-10-19
How To Dress Well - The Anteroom
How To Dress Well - The Anteroom

I can understand the problem PR people have when they have to define and actually pigeonhole an artist and his album when he, in essence, combines different strands of genres. I’m sure that was the problem the people had when trying to define The Anteroom, the new album by Tom Krell, who as a musical entity goes under the name of How To Dress Well.

On the album, Krell decided to work within the realms of a number of different strands of electronic music - coming up with electro-pop, that is not pop, Krautrock that is there only in traces and musically recalling some marking points in the development of electronic music that includes Low/Heroes era David Bowie, The Human League, some more electronically-oriented 4AD acts, just to name a few.

Musically it is not easy to define, but then, why define it at all, and calling it “21st-century psychedelic music” could be stretching it quite a bit. Ok, I’ll bite, but some fans of ‘old fashioned’ psychedelia might be quite disappointed and some fans of electronic music, might simply skip on it and The Anteroom might be exactly what they are looking for.

As far as the music itself on the album is concerned, Krell sometimes, albeit rarely, misses the mark, as in “Nonkilling 6/Hunger” which comes over as a treadmill beat/club fare (I guess that is why it was chosen as the single), but salvaged by its lyrics. On the other hand, musically good tracks, and they are certainly predominant on the album, really shine, and it is actually the trio that follows the single that truly does so - the experimental “July 13 No Hope No Pain”, beautiful Human League-like ballad “Love Means Taking Action” and electronic strings/guitar combination of “Brutal/False Skull 5”.

Taking a closer look at the album’s lyrical content it is obvious that Krell invested a lot of personal emotions into them and also helps the album to come up with more high than low points: “Winter raging/The color gone,/hands were blue and cold/A recitation –/I slowly read you Tomb for Anatole:/He was eight years old./A dead child is no/occasion for a song –/Where did I go wrong?” (“Nonkilling 6/Hunger”)

Throughout, The Anteroom flirts with excellence and if it wasn’t for a few flukes could have easily gotten there, with or without the psychedelic tag.

 

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