Tuesday, November 23, 2010
how to dress well - love remains (2010)
Forget how awful this band's name is.... I almost passed this up because the name was so dumb, but I'm glad I didn't because I think this is one of the better pop albums I've heard this year. Love Remains, How To Dress Well's debut album, is anchored by soft falsetto vocal aerobics akin to bands like fellow NYCers Grizzly Bear/The Dirty Projectors/Antony Hegarty, but hides the vocals behind layers of reverb and distortion, surrounded by lo-fi washes of keyboard and sparse percussion. In a more glossy presentation, I would probably be put off by the modern r'n'b influenced pop-style singing, but the simplicity of the sound makes it feel much more immediate and personal than it otherwise might. Most of the album is quietly atmospheric ballads, but there are the occasional uptempo rockers ("Walking This Dumb (Live)") or trip-hop forays ("Endless Rain"). The sequencing of the album is somewhat ramshackle, reflecting that this is a group still finding its sound, but I personally find the messiness appealing. Hopefully, How To Dress Well's future output will keep that quality intact.