Moses Sumney — Græ — Album Review
Alternative | Indie Pop
Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music
Græ was one one of those albums whose aesthetic grabbed my attention quite a bit, as well as one of those albums whose teasing cycle was very unorthodox. After discovering that a whole half of the album was released not to long before Græ in its completion, I almost went ahead and reviewed what was titled Græ: Part 1. But given its “Part 1” status, I decided to wait for the full thing to be released before fully delving into it. And thankfully, I did not need to wait for long.
Græ is the first example of Moses Sumney’s music that I have listened to, and if one doesn’t count the whole “Part 1” fiasco, this is the sophomore album from Moses Sumney, with his debut being 2027’s Aromantisicm.
As this was a new artist for me, I went ahead and made comparisons to other artists I know of, and my verdict became one that Moses Sumney carried a similar level of theatricalism to the likes of Grace Jones, whilst also creating atmospheres in the same sort of way as Blood Orange.
As the “Part 1” thing seemed to be ultimately pointing towards, Græ is an album that is all about duality (or “multiplicity”), and oddly enough, has left me with an equally divided opinion towards it.
One thing that this album does incredibly well is the whole thematic side of the project. Whether it was intentional or not, the introduction, titled “insula”, is a unique take on the whole isolation that many of us are going through currently, and highlights how the word itself is derived from a term which essentially means “to be islanded”.
This is finalised in the penultimate interlude “and so I come to isolation”, which really wraps the whole thing up perfectly. The dialogue of this interlude highlights the “islanding” that many minorities may have been going through their whole lives, and with this, each of the interludes and how they work feel remarkably similar to those found on Blood Orange’s Negro Swan, and furthermore are possibly the most expertly crafted interludes to have been heard by myself since.
The “multiplicity” aspect of the album is implemented in a number of ways; obviously there was the album split, and some of the tracks are also split into two (namely “Conveyor” and “boxes” and “Bless me” alongside “before you go”). Although, I really do wish that the former two tracks were one whole entity, as it would’ve by far been my favourite point of the album.
Speaking of “points on the album” the most glaring issue I have with it, is unfortunately the majority of the second half. Following what I felt to be a very well-made and colourful Part 1, with a good variety of enjoyable tracks and different moods, the tracks on the second segment were all equally mellow and unimpactful.
To add insult to injury, it may only be my opinion that this “mellower” mood really doesn’t blend well with Sumney’s shrill, high, pitched, and often squeaky vocals, but my own opinion still affected my own experience.
This ultimately led me to the disturbing thought that maybe the Part 1 of Græ would’ve been good enough on its own, and perhaps I would’ve had a higher opinion of the album if this second half wasn’t tagged onto it. But of course, the likes of “Bless me” and the final interlude, happened to be the fine-cutting saving grace of this second half.
But of course, the fullness of this album cannot be ignored; with a total of 20 tracks, and a duration of over an hour, Græ can also be compared to the likes of Negro Swan in regards to how fulfilling the experience was overall.
So in conclusion, while this album is far from musically perfect, the aesthetic, themes, and composition is one that every great album should carry. And these important elements definitely did a lot to help this album feel like a powerful and insightful piece to really dive into.
Favourite Tracks: Virile | Conveyor | Colouour
Least Favourite Track: Me in 20 Years