The Freshman Series: Moses Sumney shows talent

Categories:  The Arts    Music
Wednesday, September 27th, 2017 at 6:05 PM
The Freshman Series: Moses Sumney shows talent  by Britton Rozzelle

While the tracks on Moses Sumney’s first full-length LP “Aromanticism” may first seem like the product of a dreamy summer love-affair, and it is in a way, but the truth behind the lyrics and the artist are much darker than one may anticipate.

Loneliness, luxurious in this context, and romance, sordid and infectious, are explored across the 11 tracks on “Aromanticism,” bouncing back-and-forth between worlds of light and dark. It’s all accentuated by hazy vibes and uncertain drums that push us into a world both unfamiliar and homey at once, with songs that sonically envelop us while lyrically repelling and keeping us at arms-length as if to not reveal more than necessary about Sumney.

Sumney’s voice, a bright beacon among solemn jazz instrumentation, rises above the realm of indie and alternative blending, almost perfectly, the genres to create something new and unique. With a process similar to Blood Orange, Sampha, Thundercat (the featured bass player for a majority of the songs on “Aromanticism”) and King Krule, Sumney assembles something fresh out of old ideas, a bouquet of stylings, voices and production in a breath that seems effortless and sophisticated, despite only several years of actual singing practice.

“Quarrel” and “Lonely World” specifically excel on the album, both standing out as works of musical art and setting the scene for the album entirely. “Doomed,” likewise, begins as a soft plea for absolution, and rolls, slowly and softly like a wave on Sumney’s home state of California’s shores, into something greater and turbulent that is absolutely worth several listens.

“Indulge Me” follows perfectly with an assemblance of gentle acoustic guitar and light but stern vocals, flowing into the dreamy and maze-like “Self-Help Tape,” a track where Thundercat’s influence really becomes apparent. It continues with entirely-self made harmony that lifts the spirits and the mind as Sumney repeats into the starry-night of the instrumentals, “Imagine, being free.”

“Aromanticism” is an amazing album, let alone the first album for an artist. It stands shoulder-to-shoulder with music this year like the artistic pop of Perfume Genius, and the intricate productions of King Krule, and settles almost perfectly into a place on my favorite albums thus far. Sumney has shown that not only is he a talented vocalist, but also an artist to watch in the coming years.

“Aromanticism” is out now on Jagjaguwar, and through Vinyl Me, Please as October’s album of the month.

Stream the album below: 

Britton Rozzelle is the executive editor for The Spectator. He can be reached at 

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