SAULT have released a brand new album titled Untitled (Black Is) at a fitting yet unsettling time, with next to no information or any promotion. The enigmatic and mysterious group have, since the release of their debut album 5 back in May 2019, kept quiet, with limited information on who they are. It is thought that Dean Josiah, who has worked with the likes of Michael Kiwanuka (who appears on this new project), and Little Simz, is one of the geniuses behind this incredible group, but that’s about it. Untitled (Black Is) comes at a time of social unrest, and thematically this is exactly what it’s about. And like their previous bodies of work, this new project is a vibrant, funky and groovy one, with tracks flowing seemingly between one another, with a sense of purpose.
The album starts with a tribal, hypnotic chant of “the revolution has come!” on “Out the Lies,” with a beautiful pro black message from an uncredited voice, stating “Black is safety, Black is benevolence, Black is a lifeboat after an SOS…” as she continues to describe the purity and beauty of being Black, most importantly stating that “Black endures.” This sets the tone for the entire album. The rumbling energy of “Stop Dem” is incredible, with heavy basslines and infectious drumming that carries the beat of the track. “Don’t Shoot Guns Down” is a frantic, drum-heavy composition with an almost robotic voice repeating “Don’t Shoot Guns Down” and “Racist policeman” over and over again. Obviously in reference to the continuous lynchings of Black men and women in the US. The rumbling, bass-heavy tone of the album dominates on the first few tracks, with lighter, more melodic moments on “Wildfires” and “Sorry Ain’t Enough” capturing a more colourful tone, with synths and keys throughout these tracks that add texture and warmth. On the latter track, the soulful, uncredited voice repeats “Can you forgive your people, they’re just hurting inside / If you look in the mirror, you will see it’s just bright.” This plea for forgiveness and love hits hard, especially due to the angelic tone of her voice. The bass-heavy energy of “Bow” sounds Funkadelic-inspired, with the incredible guitar leads from Michael Kiwanuka and a tribal, infectious energy to the album. The grooves throughout are absolutely incredible. The emotive and groovy energy of “Why We Cry When We Die” is also incredible, with infectious, thumping drums, synths and vocals throughout that capture the emotive tone of that track. “Black” is a playful and tribal track with synths and phenomenal chord and melodic progressions. It’s a track that doesn’t sit still, always in motion and always bringing new energies. The synth-heavy energy of “Eternal Life” is lively and almost overpowering, and the synths and grooves throughout boom, with vocals that capture such a powerful tone. “Monsters” is another highlight for me, with incredible grooves consisting of incredible drumming, booming basslines and intricate guitar leads and synths that capture a soul and funk that is truly captivating. “Miracles” is a stunning track too, bringing the weight of its lyrics with lavish, textured production that sounds soulful and funky. “Hold Me” is a stunningly beautiful track with a gorgeous melody that captures the tone and energy of the gentle and beautiful Black spirit. “Pray up Stay Up” is an uplifting way to end the album, with colourful and happy keys that, in addition to the groovy bass and beat throughout, brings a joyful, uplifting and optimistic end to the album.
UNTITLED (Black Is) is Black beauty personified. It is Black struggle personified. It is Black strength, it is Black emotion, it is raw Black power through music that sounds soulful, groovy and spiritually uplifting. SAULT have proved yet again why they are the most exciting band to come out in recent years, and their enigmatic and mysterious presence makes them even more exciting. This is a phenomenal album that captures so much incredible energy that I will be playing this for a very long time.