Sault, as ever produced by Inflo with Cleo Sol and Kid Sister the primary co-writers and vocalists, start their fourth album by striding toward the horizon with a glimmering polyrhythmic call to arms.
"Strong" contains so much purposeful movement and ornamentation -- wriggling disco-funk with a drumline interjection, impelling voices, and ascending synthesiser and strings -- that the rest of Untitled (Rise) feels destined to be a letdown. The song instead sets the tone for a sequence that's less mournful, much more energised, and angrier than the third LP, Untitled (Black Is).
"I Just Want to Dance" is likewise layered, part high-velocity U.K. street soul and part batucada with more marching drums. It's a celebration of life through physical release -- a means of coping with tragic injustice. The same undaunted spirit courses throughout "Son Shine," gospel boogie bearing a devastating group hook, "Free," a cracking statement of defiance, and "Street Fighter" and "The Beginning & the End," a pair of highly percussive combat dances. Working a slinking soul-jazz groove,
"Uncomfortable" is among Sault's quietest numbers but is a seething confrontation itself: "Maybe you're uncomfortable/With the fact we're waking up/Why do you keep shooting us?/How do you turn hate to love?" The interludes here are almost as weighty, typified by a rousing cadence call and Kid Sister's caustic upbraiding of performative allyship.
From beginning to end, the parenthetical word of the album title is sung, spoken, and chanted, serving a mobilisng and oppositional purpose for the most part. It's also used in an early interlude as a morning greeting for a child, presumably the subject of "Little Boy," a sobering soul lullaby that ends this group's most striking and affecting work yet. 5, 7, Untitled (Black Is), and Untitled (Rise), issued within 16 months, amount to exactly three hours of exceptionally recombinant and enriching pro-black music with minimal excess. The rate and power of the output is stupefying.
I Just Want To Dance 4:21
Street Fighter 3:09
Son Shine 3:16
Rise Intently 0:50
The Beginning & The End 3:38
You Know It Ain't 3:39
No Black Violins In London 1:28
Scary Times 3:39
The Black & Gold 3:04
Little Boy 3:53