“Lamentations” Comforts After the Storm


Zach Green, Website Editor

Throughout Hurricane Matthew, the Weather Channel had convinced us to brace for the worst. However, after my family watched from a safe distance what would just be considered a bad storm for Charleston, we agreed to end our evacuation vacation.

We peel out before the crack of dawn the next day. As we hit the road, a peaceful feeling rises through my conscience when, as Mark Twain describes, “all the late sounds had quit and the early ones hadn’t begun.” It’s in this liminal state between the late-night shifts & the sunrise when Moses Sumney’s “Ascension” washes in from my Discover Weekly playlist.

It’s a fitting introduction to Sumney’s excellent new EP, “Lamentations.” The opening drones instantly pull you into his glittering world of electro-soul. About a minute in, they’re replaced with a lilting guitar melody. Sumney begins singing about his embrace of crossing into the afterlife, should the time come, in his arresting falsetto croon — it’s equal parts beautiful and haunting.

The gentle guitarwork rolls straight into “Proud to Be,” which stylistically rests somewhere between Beck-esque introspection and Sufjan Stevens’ quiet lust for life. The detailed percussion on “Worth It” is definitely influenced by the minimalism of “Yeezus”-era Kanye West — it’s effective as an idiosyncratic core around which the EP revolves.

“Lonely World” is the perfect soundtrack to watching the sun slowly burn over the horizon. As rainbow colors rip through the dark sky, Sumney’s layered production rockets through the melancholy into some higher plane of being. By the time “Incantation” is around to wish you “shalom,” you’re suspended in Sumney’s otherworldly headspace.

Unlike other scattershot EPs, “Lamentations” feels like one concise thought. For such a promising, bold artist, it’s especially impressive that this is technically Sumney’s full-length debut. It’ll be interesting tracking where his career goes from here.

This release is a much-needed salve between evacuation anxiety and the stress of resetting after the storm. “Lamentations” is a brief but immersive escape from a restless universe into Sumney’s cozy, watercolored microcosm.