Sum/One

  • Record Label: 4AD
  • Release Date: Dec 3, 2013
Metascore
68

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Dec 6, 2013
    87
    bEEdEEgEE makes it apparent that Brian Degraw has a future with or without Gang Gang Dance, as this solo album can rival any of his previously released heights.
  2. Dec 17, 2013
    80
    Still puzzling, but for the most part very lovely.
  3. Dec 13, 2013
    80
    Even attention-grabbing appearances by Lovefoxxx and Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor don’t distract from the ambition, intellectualism and plain-speaking seductiveness that make ‘SUM/ONE’ a more than impressive listen.
  4. 80
    By being both coherent and pleasingly unhinged, bEEdEEgEE more than fills the role of cosmic dance music vacated by Gang Gang Dance.
  5. Dec 2, 2013
    80
    Once the notion that this album is not even close to as song-y as Gang Gang Dance recedes, what you're left with is one of the most gloriously abstract and adventurous records to emerge from the upper tiers of the underground in quite some time.
  6. Dec 2, 2013
    80
    DeGraw's unique production mastery finds some of its most vivid articulation on Sum/One, and sinks its hooks in effortlessly despite the fearless weirdness that comes through on every track.
  7. Dec 2, 2013
    80
    On SUM/ONE, DeGraw avoids the trappings many first-time solo artists fall to, leaving the listener with a collection of songs that manages to exude its own indispensable personality while staying true to Gang Gang Dance's wild and wooly origin story.
  8. Dec 11, 2013
    72
    This solo outing from Gang Gang Dance’s Brian DeGraw strips away some of the darkness that inhabited his band’s previous records and creates a more blissful, pop-driven place to play.
  9. Dec 9, 2013
    70
    The album is at its best when DeGraw’s chaotic textures give way to more structured declarations of despair.
  10. Uncut
    Dec 6, 2013
    70
    It all adds up to an album that is pleasantly quirky rather than revealing. [Jan 2014, p.71]
  11. Dec 4, 2013
    70
    Despite some loopier diversions, DeGraw’s solo flight is more precise than GGD, and the appeal of his technicolor melodies rely on that cleaner simplicity.
  12. Dec 4, 2013
    68
    It's an intermittently thoughtful album, but one that doesn't stray far from offering process-laid-bare insight into the beautiful pile-up that is Gang Gang Dance.
  13. Q Magazine
    Jan 7, 2014
    60
    It's good, but he's better as part of the Gang. [Jan 2014, p.119]
  14. Jan 7, 2014
    60
    A bit of streamlining and editing would help DeGraw on future releases, but with songs like “Empty Vases” DeGraw proves that he’s a solo artist to watch.
  15. 60
    For those up to the challenge, SUM/ONE is a unifying electronic endeavor, astute in its own deconstruction for an indie crossover, and rife with enough low-end euphoria to get the most dedicated basshead bouncing.
  16. 60
    While there is nothing on here as life-altering as GGD's 2011 single MindKilla, tracks such as Overlook remain restless and inventive.
  17. Dec 5, 2013
    60
    Knowing what he is capable of with his band, though, one can't help but feel a little unfulfilled by his solo effort. If anything, SUM/ONE's moments of constriction emphasize how vital the expansive jam aspect is to Gang Gang Dance.
  18. Dec 3, 2013
    60
    It isn't quite as defined or as consistent as his work with Gang Gang Dance, but through persistence it certainly comes close.
  19. It’s smartly done but strangely rootless, roaming far and wide but without a place to call home.
  20. The Wire
    Dec 13, 2013
    50
    DeGraw's skill for mixing and matching swatches of sound is unparalleled, but without context it becomes much like choosing colours for your living room. [Dec 2013, p.48]
  21. 50
    Despite DeGraw’s earnestness and the many good ideas that are in there, SUM/ONE‘s sense of free rein results in something garishly over the top--a bit like reversing your cases when trying to write a serious point.
  22. Dec 3, 2013
    50
    As a producer, DeGraw's sonic instincts are nearly beyond reproach, his carefully sculpted synthscapes frequently gorgeous and never boring. But maximalist excess afflicts too much of SUM/ONE, to rapidly diminishing returns.

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