Moses Sumney: Grae review – double album’s stunning first instalment

Moses Sumney’s arresting debut, Aromanticism (2017), introduced a soaring new voice, and an artist keen to resist habitual assumptions about love and genre. This first instalment of a follow-up double album finds this erstwhile poet and US star-in-waiting interrogating grey areas and in-betweens. Sumney’s palette is vastly expanded, including – but not limited to – chamber pop, R&B, soul, art pop, jazz, digitals and spoken word. Black rubs up against white, conceptual rigour against listenability, LA against Ghana, where Sumney lived for a time; he’s now based in North Carolina. Opposites dissolve on songs called things like Jill/Jack and Neither/Nor, but throughout, beauty is a unifying principle.

Virile is the undisputed centrepiece of this stunning first section of græ, a sumptuous track in which Sumney’s falsetto, allied with waves of lavish instrumentation and pugnacious rhythms, breaks down ideas of masculinity. “I insist upon my right to be multiple”, Sumney asserts on Also Also Also And And And. Part two of this double album about binaries is due in May.

Watch the video for Virile by Moses Sumney.


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