Doomed - Single (2021)
Review By Dan Fister
July 14, 2021
Established in 2018, Towson Untitled may be a relatively new a cappella group, but Doomed demonstrates a musical and emotional maturity that many groups would envy. The group covers Ghanaian-American singer-songwriter Moses Sumney's existential ballad meditating on aromanticism. Untitled transforms the song with luminous vocals, keen musicality, and a palpable depth of feeling.
This performance is a masterclass in forward motion. Subtle dynamic shifts, rhythmic lines, and textural changes propel the listener through a melancholic song that could have been too slow or repetitive in different musical hands. Soloist Akosua Hawkins floats above the hums and vocables of the group, often singing in a mixed head voice that approximates Sumney's dreamy falsetto but brings a bit more body to the timbre and brightness to the emotions. Arranger Matthew Price shapes the song's form and texture into an arc and writes many lush added-harmony chords that the group tunes perfectly. Delicate production work by Cut Off Studios creates layers and varied sounds without drawing much attention to the mixing and mastering. Particularly impressive is the stunning climactic moment where Hawkins' voice soars on a high note while the group crescendos. Just as the sound is about to reach the apex, the singers suddenly cut off, leaving the chord's echoes to reverberate and take your breath away.