When I heard a couple of Moses Sumney’s tracks two years ago I had a sudden onrush of the chills. It wasn’t the sparse arrangements but rather it was Sumney’s voice, which can be best described as a wavering falsetto with some moments where he sounds like Prince. I then felt that this guy can go into weird sounding territories quite easily.
Fast forward a few years and Sumney’s debut has landed and there are weird moments. Quite a few in fact. Honestly this is the first time that I’ve ever heard a musician start an album with a reprise of a track that was released back in 2014. Man on the Moon is a few seconds of layered voiced with string arrangements that would not sound out of place in a classic Disney film. It is a promising start.
The first half of Aromanticism consists of Sumney displaying the approachable side that was prevalent in the early singles. I definitely will not say that these are average but they do sound restrained with just some hints of what may come via a lush orchestral arrangement, a sample or some electronic burbles, although the jazz outro in Quarrel does raise the eyebrows. During the first five songs I kept wishing that Sumney would unleash his voice and let everything go wild.
That moment happens during mid track with Lonely World: A track that starts off with some hazy ambient noises, piccolo solo and then Sumney’s voice bursts in and increases pitch and mixes thumping techno noises, poly-rhythmic drumming, brass, strings into an almighty clatter. It is brilliant and introduces the listener to the treats that lie within the second half of the record.
From Lonely World to Self-Help Tape all hell breaks loose and Sumney unleashes his experimental side. Make out in my Car sounds like a distant cousin of Bjork’s Possibly Maybe.Think of a trip hop beat mashed up with an orchestra The Cocoon-eyed Baby (the guy should get a prize for awesome song-titles) is a freeform poem with Sumney’s multi-tracked tones dancing around it. I could go on but there is a lot to write about the second side of Aromanticism. I’ll just say that the album closes with Sumney’s voice overlapping each other and in different pitches. A satisfying conclusion.
I feel that Aromanticisim is just an introduction to the wonderful world of Moses Sumney. I just have this feeling that his music will venture into different sonic territories and that will be exciting indeed but for now Aromanticism is just fine.