The enigmatic and intriguing presence of UK-based soul band SAULT just continues to grow stronger and stronger. Having already released an album this year with the incredible UNTITLED (Black Is), a groovy and spiritually uplifting album that was so needed at the time, the band are already on their second incredible release of the year. UNTITLED (RISE) is their new 15 track album, a phenomenal body of work that embraces the beauty, soul and pain of being Black in the world. Listening to it a few times, I’m so enamored by the way they are able to tell their story – with a cohesive, textured and utterly mesmeric sound that captures so much raw emotion. Just like the albums that came before this one, UNTITLED (RISE) is an important musical moment of the year.
What I noticed from the jump is just how percussion-heavy this album was going to be. The frantic and lively energy of the 6-minute thriller “Strong” sets the tone for the entire album. The groovy guitar leads and infectious basslines are met by heavy drumming and gorgeous vocal performances. The incredibly infectious and dance-heavy track brings a positivity again, heavy and rhythmic energy that exploded in the second half of the track, with tribal drumming. The dynamism and incredible groove just continues on “Fearless”. The string section on this track is incredible, and is accompanied by more crazy drum grooves. “I Just Want to Dance” sounds exactly like what the title suggests. It’s a groovy, dynamic and beautifully produced track. The synth leads on this track complement the heavy drumming incredibly well. As the album progresses, it gets more political in its messages. The pro-liberation chants on “Street Fighter” are met with incredible string sections that are just so damn empowering. The grooves on “Son Shine” are just so perfect and rhythmic, while the fiery and heavily percussive “The Beginning & the End” is another clear highlight for me, while the stunning “Free” is just so inspiring. “You Know It Ain’t” speaks on all these false promises people, most notably politicians, make to help those who need help the most. The groovy and playful “Uncomfortable” is another highlight, while “Scary Times” is able to hold a playful and reflective groove and tone. The hypnotic “The Black & Gold” and soulful and silky smooth “Little Boy” are incredibly potent and powerful, closing the album out beautifully.
Yet again, SAULT have exceeded all expectations. Their music speaks to the soul, heart and pain of the Black experience, while maintaining a positive and highly rhythmic groove to the music that feels powerful and so necessary. They continue to push the boundaries of what soul and funk music can sound in 2020. UNTITLED (RISE) is an incredible project and one I need everyone to listen to and groove to. Go support!