Album Review: Moses Sumney - græ

14 May 2020 | 5:12 pm | Guido Farnell

"Confronts with its complexity and demands that you pay it close attention."

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Moses Sumney’s accomplished debut Aromanticism was one of those bewitching albums that sunk deep in soulful reflections on modern love set to sleek futuristic electronic arrangements - and quickly won the hearts of listeners. That becomes a musical starting point for græ, which sees Sumney taking his music so much further and deeper on this album. It’s an epic two-part voyage through the grey that exists between the absolutes of black and white. Moving beyond non-binary, Sumney seemingly gets kaleidoscopic as he embraces a kind of pluralism to record a collection of songs that fits this conceptual framework. Yet remaining true to his heart, these songs move restlessly in idiosyncratic and enigmatic tangents.

Part 1 (originally released in February), with singles like Cut Me and Virile, deals personal reflection accompanied by forward-thinking R&B groove that's experimentally spliced with soul, jazz, elegant chamber pop and futuristic electronica. Sumney isn’t shy of getting uncomfortably personal as he thinks about his approach to life. Polly delivers an ode to polyamorous lifestyles in sunny shades of intimate folk. Part 2 (which is coming out now to complete the entire græ picture) seemingly dissolves into a more languorous state of mind as Sumney’s mesmerising falsetto softly coos over vaporous clouds of synthesised sound textures and flourishes of dreamy orchestral manoeuvres. Where Part 1 more broadly deals in manifesto, Part 2 - with songs like Bystanders and Bless Me - loses itself and revels in wild ecstatic emotion. G is an ambitious album that offers immersive listening as it confronts with its complexity and demands that you pay it close attention.