EP REVIEW: Moses Sumney's Stunning "Lamentations"
Los Angeles act Moses Sumney is on the edge of something big, parting the tides of the music industry (pardon the pun). Having only released a handful of singles and one EP (2014's Mid-City Island) over a couple of years, his resonant voice has found him opening for the likes of Sufjan Stevens and James Blake and starring on a Skrillex remix of Hundred Waters, amongst other ventures. Lamentations, his latest EP, is another mesmerising glimpse into the world he’s quietly creating.
Moses Sumney’s arrangements are often delicate, as demonstrated by previous highlights like “Seeds” and “Plastic”. On Lamentations, he’s created some of the most intricate sounds of his career. “Lonely World”, the EP’s centrepiece, features a bass contribution from Thundercat, driving beats and haunting multi-tracked vocals floating above a wall of sound. Opener “Ascension” begins with an eerie, haunting arrangement that sounds like it was taken from a horror-movie score, before giving way to a simple, finger-picked guitar and Sumney’s trademark high register vocals.
Which leads us to Sumney’s main selling point. His voice is as flawless and evocative as ever on the EP, giving weight to the emotions and atmospheres explored. This is best demonstrated by “Worth It”, a ghostly track about devotion and self-doubt, in which vocoder is used over a simple beat to brilliant effect, creating an alienating ambience.
Occasionally, the sparsity of Sumney’s work can make his music sound unfinished, like they’re mere skeletons of songs, such as on “Proud to Be”. However, his voice ensures the song remains captivating and powerful as ever. Moses Sumney has produced a unique take on the singer-songwriter trope, offering a diverse experience that should draw a wide audience. Anticipation is well and truly brewing for what he might do with a full-length release.