Time apart served the Swedish pop trio Peter Bjorn and John well, as they return with a still-catchy, sonically broader album.
For his whole career as a musician, Tom Krell, the man behind How To Dress Well, has stood in direct opposition to the tones his peers created. Where the moody crooning of 2010’s Love Remains spat in the face of the overbearing glee expressed in the bubblegum-pop of its time, 2016’s Care spits right back at the drear expressed in current pop music, the same exact drear he brought upon the genre. Care is a return to playfulness, but toes a line between glee and darkness through a juxtaposition between upbeat production and solemn lyrics.
There is an unmistakable energy to this record that is unlike anything Krell has given us before. He manages to play both iconoclast and conformist to modern pop, getting as close as he’s ever been to the mainstream, while keeping his roots firmly on the outskirts. The choruses are infectious not through dumbed down repetition, but through genuinely remarkable craft, beautiful melody, and smart writing. The production is at times gentle and passive behind wonderful falsetto, and at others booming and punchy, perfect for live audiences.
Perhaps Krell’s greatest strength has always been his songwriting. Care is just the first time it’s truly been at the forefront. This is the cleanest his production has ever been, and it demands the voice be cleanly heard. Where his past works intentionally muddled the voice and forced aesthetics over clarity, Care doesn’t. The result is perhaps the single most addictive record I’ve picked up this year. It’s no doubt a pop record, but one that sits just far enough outside current tropes to stand out.»
– Tyler Sanford