|Sumney, Moses / Aromanticism|
|Add Date:||2017-10-12|| ||Pull Date:||2017-12-14|| |
This album was a long time coming, and it’s worth the wait. Moses Sumney has a hell of a voice—a moody, androgynous instrument—and he uses it to great effect over his spare compositions, which are typically composed of looped acoustic guitar playing and strings. I’ve heard Sumney compared to Dirty Projectors and Radiohead, and while I can kind of understand why, they’re not perfect fits; rather than envelope-pushing weirdness, Sumney’s songwriting strikes a balance of folk and soul without really sounding like anything in either genre. Alongside Sampha’s Process and SZA’s Ctrl, I'd call this one of the year’s best and most unique debuts.|
Favorites: 3, 4, 6, 9, 10
1) “Man on the Moon (Reprise)” (0:36) – Short intro composed of processed vocals.
2) “Don’t Bother Calling” (3:59) – Repeated, hollow acoustic guitar riff and strings form the instrumental backbone. Sumney sings almost in a constant falsetto here, and it’s wondrous.
3) “Plastic” (3:08)* – Strummed acoustic guitar riff sounds like it’s being heard through an old transistor radio. For reasons I can’t explicate, this song makes me think of an old folk song—like something I’ve heard before even if I can’t remember where.
4) “Quarrel” (6:45)* – There’s a drum machine that spits out a bossa nova-inspired beat, multi-tracked vocals, and even a harp. The song picks up the pace after the three-minute mark before morphing into an extended outro. (There’s an edit of the song on YouTube that shaves that outro off, or you can end early at 4:15. But why would you want to?)
5) “Stoicism” (1:02) – Short spoken-word piece that leads directly into the following song. Footsteps, soft swells of horn, and a plinking sound—a piano?—in the background.
6) “Lonely World” (4:48)* – First minute and a half of the song is driven by acoustic guitar and vocals. After that, the song builds in energy, adding percussion, horns, and haunting background vocals, all the way up to a rousing climax.
7) “Make Out in My Car” (2:35) – Psychedelic soul with bursts of woodwinds, strings, and finger snaps. Features a repeated refrain: “I’m not tryna go to bed with you / I just wanna make out in my car.”
8) “The Cocoon-Eyed Baby” (1:09) – Another short spoken-word piece with twinkling notes of guitar.
9) “Doomed” (4:27)* – Sumney sings almost acapella over a serene, brooding electronic tone. Sumney pushes his falsetto to new, powerful heights. Soulful in a very different way from “Make Out in My Car”, but even more affecting.
10) “Indulge Me” (3:16)* – Perhaps the most straightforward and accessible song on the album, with Sumney crooning the titular phrase over strummed acoustic guitar.
11) “Self-Help Tape” (3:01) – A beautiful, cascading acoustic guitar arpeggio repeats throughout the song, floating underneath Sumney’s scat singing. (When pitch-shifted words actually start to take shape in the final moments of the song, it’s almost an intrusion.)