SAULT – ” Untitled “

Posted: December 14, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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These days, it’s hard to remain an anonymous musician, but no one seems to know who or how many people make up Sault. What we do know is that they released two albums last year—and 7 on the Forever Living Originals label, and critics can’t get enough of them. Both albums shared the number two slot on Bandcamp’s 100 best albums of 2019, and for good reason—their groovy, free-flowing arrangements are almost too good to be true. Simultaneously sounding like lost funk classics and modern mash-ups of bass-heavy soul, pop and post-punk, these records possess a rare exuberance.

Part of Sault’s brilliance is their effortlessness, and part of it is their ability to construct songs that are at once spacious and ornate. On their pair of recent Untitled albums, tumbling rhythms, dazzling keyboards and defiant vocals combine and radiate mastery at every turn. Track two on Untitled (Rise), “Fearless” is an embodiment of that mastery, opening with vigorous drums and enveloping neo-soul before blooming into a dramatic, string-laden disco-fusion track.

The song’s message itself is just as towering, as it captures the vast fears and hopes that come with the Black experience, along with the longing for one’s roots. The ability to digest all the horrific oppression against one’s people and still have a desire to wear a mask of fearlessness is inspiring and powerful, but also somewhat tragic that some feel any outward sign of dejection is just giving the oppressors a leg up.

We still know barely anything about the mysterious British collective SAULT, but their prolific streak gave us two Untitled albums that tapped into the grief and resilience that coursed through this year’s wave of BLM protests. Untitled (Rise), like its predecessor (Black Is), weaves together a vast spectrum of Black history and art, wielding jazz and funk and Afrobeat with a fluid, precise orchestration. With the details of SAULT’s personnel remaining obscured, (Rise) becomes the work of a collective voice even with all its different angles and timbres. Dizzyingly creative, mournful yet hopeful, effortlessly catchy and impeccably crafted, it’s an album equal parts rousing and cleansing for the traumas of 2020.

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