9: Moses Sumney — Aromanticism
The eerie headless and floating figure, photographed from behind, on the cover of this soulful L.A. up-and-comer’s debut album is unnerving at first glance. Let your mind’s eye adjust and a new image takes shape: The artist gazing very determinedly at his own navel. It’s an apt visual to accompany the themes of solitude and self-reflection that Sumney explores in this lush song cycle. The album’s title, a trendy buzzword for the inability to feel romantic attraction, suggests Sumney’s no fan of happy loving couples. “You need a solid, but I’m made of liquid,” he warns on “Don’t Bother Calling,” one of 11 exquisitely produced tracks here. But he’s savvy enough to know that romantic reclusiveness comes with a price. “Am I vital if my heart is idle?” he wonders on “Doomed.” If the album is introspective to a fault—the languid rhythms and Sumney’s delicate falsetto grow a little snoozy at times—it is nevertheless an impressively ambitious artistic statement by the most promising newbie of the year.