It’s felt like a long-time coming for Moses Sumney, whose work has rippled through the indie music scene for at least the past three or four years. Most of his work rides on his incredible and spine-tingling falsetto, but his music and lyrics contain a blue hue and solitary veneer that drive his vocals to a bittersweet beauty.

His full-length debut Aromanticism finally saw daylight earlier this month, and I was able to catch him performing in its support at his hometown and final U.S. show for the year at the classy El Rey Theatre.


Photos by David Fisch

Though the new album runs just over a half-hour, Sumney had enough material and variance to perform a set lasting almost an hour and a half, and even with that much time there was still so much more we wanted to see and hear. Sumney and his instrumentalists were all in black, but there was an elegant aura to the whole set-up that was magnetizing, perhaps because his music warrants it, but their musicality, in sync with the four or five light configurations, was magically attractive.

Another part of that magnetism lied with Sumney’s rapport with the audience, which he acknowledged was about half newcomers and half long-time fans. He would interact with the audience in-between sets, but he even incorporated them for his songs, humming a certain part of the melody or serving as the groundwork for a song entirely, creating this eerily breathtaking moment where the audience was so in sync that we were a whole new instrument.

When the audience wasn’t participating, they were utterly silent and kept silent by Sumney himself, who wished for some in the audience not to whisper. It made sense, as Sumney consumed his focus for emotional powerhouse songs like “Indulge Me” and “Man On The Moon” and “Doomed.” It was also just a manner of respect for the performers onstage, who had come as far as New York City to play and immediately leave because they had to catch their plane.

The beauty emanating from the El Rey’s space was palpabale, to say the least. Moses Sumney has a voice that is close to unworldly, and he executed every note and subtly with pitch perfection. To be witness to the deep dive into mood and adrift feelings from an artist who has really solidified his craft was something of a miracle, and to have seen it in his hometown – my hometown – was even more special.

Aromanticism is now available on Jagjaguwar Records. See the music video to “Doomed” below.

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Moses Sumney