Boomkat Product Review:
'Total Loss' is the eagerly awaited follow-up to Tom Krell's debut album as How To Dress Well. By any standards, the achingly exquisite 'Love Remains' was a mean feat to surpass, but he's equalled it with the narcotic neo-R&B and chamber delicacies on show here. Allowing other producers to permeate his isolated world - Forest Swords and Ezekiel Honig "contributed sounds to a couple songs" and it was all co-produced by Rodaidh McDonald (The xx) - has helped him come to terms with his sound, while his songwriting is acutely sharper, expressing that affective blend of melancholy, mourning wistfulness and hopeful catharsis with a striking clarity. Freed from 4-track restrictions his songs now bloom with a beautiful subtlety without losing their ghostly opacity: the trap-rap drums are ruder, the swooning string pieces more spacious, the atmosphere rarified and layered gossamer fine, everything in delicate equilibrium with that celestial falsetto. From initial listens we're instantly struck by the transporting synth and vocal ascension 'Say My Name Or Say Whatever' (top marks for the Streetwise sample) and by the heart-grabbing gospel-noise of 'Set It Right' or the iced-out bump 'n float of 'Running Back', but the whole thing's simply a dream from start to finish.