Published Mar 04, 2020Most music tends to focus on life's milestones — the first kiss, the epic heartbreak, and other brief, significant moments. But Moses Sumney has a gift for spinning poetry out of the ordinary. On græ: Part 1, the first instalment of his double album, Sumney makes art out of the seemingly colourless moments that are the true sum of our existence.
With elegant lyricism and clever attention to detail, Sumney tackles topics like clumsy, unrequited love ("In Bloom") or the silly constraints of toxic masculinity ("Virile") and replaces awkwardness with reverence.
Sumney's voice, haunting and pliant, shines on græ. Each croak, whisper or bellow is deliberate, and his vocal flourishes, combined with thoughtful production, transforms græ into theatre. "Gagarin," the album's crown jewel, best showcases Sumney's skilful showmanship. Beneath pensive keys and ghoulish, echoey synths, the crooner suffers an existential crisis. His anguished voice, muffled and distorted, disappears as the music around him expands; Sumney's big questions about the meaning of life drift into space, like pioneering astronaut Yuri Gagarin, who lends his name to this song.
Part one of Sumney's smart double feature proves that art is everywhere — even in the drab hues that exist between extremes. (Jagjaguwar)