Untitled (Black Is)

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Double album Untitled (Black Is) capped off a 13-month period in which Sault also released 5 and 7. The rush of creativity is all the more astonishing when factoring that core members Dean "Inflo" Josiah Cover and Cleopatra "Cleo Sol" Nikolic also created the latter's Rose in the Dark, and the former, amid other work, co-produced the U.K. Top Ten entry Kiwanuka.

Black pride and resistance fuelled some of the most powerful songs on the first two Sault albums, so when this third one landed on Juneteenth 2020, amid worldwide protests against police brutality, it came as no surprise that those themes had bubbled to the fore. As a consequence, Untitled (Black Is) comes across as an urgent outpouring of grief, anger, affirmation, and consolation, and at the same time, it stretches Sault's stylistic range to an extent where virtually anything seems possible for their future.

In the present, Inflo and Cleo Sol are joined again by Kid Sister as an extra lyricist and voice (heard most often in the numerous poetic interludes), and they're markedly augmented by keyboardist and fellow co-writer Kadeem Clarke, among other unattributed instrumentation and vocals. The sequence is filled with indestructible art that consoles, challenges, and invigorates with gospel, doo wop, highlife, psychedelicised garage rock, dub, and post-punk funk all filtered with uncommon aptitude through vintage outsider soul.

Highlights are abundant. "Wildfires," guided by a slinking bassline and a tender vocal, is a downcast but fearless rejection of "white lives spreading lies" and murderous police. "Sorry Ain't Enough" is something like a strung-out private-press soul oddity set aglow with a defiant and irresistible hook. "Bow," featuring Michael Kiwanuka, is a searing celebration of Africa and freedom, trailed by a strong bulletin delivered by Laurette Josiah. Stashed deep in the second half and yet nowhere near the end, "Eternal Life" is a spellbinding boom-clap anthem, an assertion of faith and solidarity, with an escalating synthesiser pattern as crucial as the mix of voices. The song is actually central to the album and would have made for an all-time great epilogue.


Out The Lies 2:01
Stop Dem 3:38
Hard Life 4:33
Don't Shoot Guns Down 1:52
Wildfires 3:26
X 1:24
Sorry Ain't Enough 4:59
Black Is 1:52
Bow 4:05
This Generation 0:46
Why We Cry Why We Die 2:44
Black 3:53
Us 1:05
Eternal Life 3:59
Only Synth In Church 0:56
Monsters 3:27
June Child 0:58
Miracles 4:17
Hold Me 2:45
Pray Up Stay Up 3:45