It is with restraint (and yet complete certainty) that I state that this year belongs to the triumphant emergence of Moses Sumney. In a world where we are constantly searching for something to fill up our time (regardless of whether or not it adds value to our lives), Sumney thoughtfully engages with the idea of lovelessness, which he has coined “aromanticism.”
Prior to the album release, he penned a ‘prose-poem’ about the musings which led to the formation of Aromanticism, incisively stating that:
“Aromanticism is a concept album about lovelessness as a sonic dreamscape. It seeks to interrogate the idea that romance is normative and necessary.
It’s admitting that you still desperately crave affection, even if you’re not fully capable of returning it.”
Sumney has shared that Aromanticism is a concept album that seeks to articulate the feelings that are inexpressible – and there are several tracks on this album that efficiently speak right to the heart, which can only be described as overwhelming, often relying little on musical embellishment.
Opening with the beautiful, choral Man on the Moon (Reprise), the Aromanticism leads to the atmospheric Don’t Bother, before Sumney’s renowned (and slightly reworked) track, Plastic, is doused in warmth and self-awareness, with an ethereal outro accompanying the closing lyrics: My wings are made up / And so am I.
Aromanticism is meditative and carefully put together and a melodic (and often cosmic) stream of consciousness that revels in Sumney’s command of immersive soundscapes. The magnificence of Quarrel and Stoicism showcase the range of Sumney‘s vocals, while tracks such as Lonely World and Make Out in My Car are contrasting in subject matter, but both explore moody and contemplative harmonies. Doomed is one of the most compelling tracks on Aromanticism. With Sumney’s fathomless and soaring vocals, the track courageously unearthing fears of loneliness, of lovelessness, with the aching lyrics:
Am I vital, if my heart is idle? Am I doomed?
Indulge Me, the penultimate track on Aromanticism is a tender one, with Sumney’s crooning accompanied by guitar and little else. This leads into the closing track, Self-Help Tape, a gently urgent track that incorporates looped vocals.
Aromanticism is an ambient, sprawling work of art, a creative nod to jazz elements, and a stunning introduction to Moses Sumney’s – hopefully – very long and veracious musical career.
01 Man on the Moon (Reprise)
02 Don’t Bother Calling
06 Lonely World
07 Make Out in My Car
08 The Cocoon-Eyed Baby
10 Indulge Me
11 Self-Help Tape