“Aromanticism is a concept album about lovelessness as a sonic dreamscape.” This one of the most romantic album statements I’ve ever read. And yet listening to the album you soon realise that it’s a prosaic understatement, for here is an album of heartbreaking beauty and grand desolation.
Moses Sumney taught himself to play guitar while studying creative writing at UCLA, and has spent years refining his unique approach to folk, soul and jazz-inflected compositions, touring extensively and collaborating with artists including James Blake and The Cinematic Orchestra. There are numerous live videos if you search, including one for MOOG where he mentions “studio versions of songs sometimes feel stagnant to me, like a polaroid snapshot of a moving ship. Live versions of songs get to be more amorphous, constantly taking and shaking off shape, moving like a film.”
On this LP Sumney succeeds in capturing those dynamics in widescreen; each song soars high above, or shakes to the core. If this is an age where idealism struggles with pragmatism and mystery is left in favour of measurable outcomes, Aromanticism is the record that reminds us this wasn’t always so, and needn’t always be.
Aromanticism is out September 22 via Inertia.