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SAULT|Untitled (Black Is)

Untitled (Black Is)

SAULT

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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 fueled 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 quality control isn't quite as tight. Some songs meander long after making their point. A greater position of the sequence, however, is filled with indestructible art that consoles, challenges, and invigorates with gospel, doo wop, highlife, psychedelicized 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 synthesizer 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.
© Andy Kellman /TiVo

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Untitled (Black Is)

SAULT

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1
Out the Lies
00:02:01

Melissa Young, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - Inflo, Producer - Dean Josiah Cover, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - Kadeem Clarke, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - Cleopatra Nikolic, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - SAULT, MainArtist

2020 Forever Living Originals 2020 Forever Living Originals

2
Stop Dem
00:03:38

Inflo, Producer - Dean Josiah Cover, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - Cleopatra Nikolic, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - SAULT, MainArtist

2020 Forever Living Originals 2020 Forever Living Originals

3
Hard Life
00:04:33

Michael Kiwanuka, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - Inflo, Producer - Dean Josiah Cover, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - Cleopatra Nikolic, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - SAULT, MainArtist

2020 Forever Living Originals 2020 Forever Living Originals

4
Don't Shoot Guns Down
00:01:52

Inflo, Producer - Dean Josiah Cover, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - Cleopatra Nikolic, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - SAULT, MainArtist

2020 Forever Living Originals 2020 Forever Living Originals

5
Wildfires
00:03:26

Inflo, Producer - Dean Josiah Cover, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - Cleopatra Nikolic, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - SAULT, MainArtist

2020 Forever Living Originals 2020 Forever Living Originals

6
X
00:01:24

Melissa Young, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - Inflo, Producer - Dean Josiah Cover, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - Kadeem Clarke, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - SAULT, MainArtist

2020 Forever Living Originals 2020 Forever Living Originals

7
Sorry Ain't Enough
00:04:59

Inflo, Producer - Dean Josiah Cover, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - Cleopatra Nikolic, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - SAULT, MainArtist

2020 Forever Living Originals 2020 Forever Living Originals

8
Black Is
00:01:52

Melissa Young, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - Inflo, Producer - Dean Josiah Cover, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - Kadeem Clarke, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - SAULT, MainArtist

2020 Forever Living Originals 2020 Forever Living Originals

9
Bow
00:04:05

Michael Kiwanuka, Artist, Performer, FeaturedArtist, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - Inflo, Producer - Dean Josiah Cover, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - SAULT, Artist, Performer, MainArtist

2020 Forever Living Originals 2020 Forever Living Originals

10
This Generation
00:00:46

Dean Josiah Cover, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - SAULT, MainArtist - Laurette Josiah, Artist, Performer, FeaturedArtist

2020 Forever Living Originals 2020 Forever Living Originals

11
Why We Cry Why We Die
00:02:44

Dean Josiah Cover, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - Cleopatra Nikolic, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - SAULT, MainArtist

2020 Forever Living Originals 2020 Forever Living Originals

12
Black
00:03:53

Dean Josiah Cover, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - Cleopatra Nikolic, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - SAULT, MainArtist

2020 Forever Living Originals 2020 Forever Living Originals

13
Us
00:01:05

Melissa Young, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - Inflo, Producer - Dean Josiah Cover, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - Kadeem Clarke, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - Cleopatra Nikolic, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - SAULT, MainArtist

2020 Forever Living Originals 2020 Forever Living Originals

14
Eternal Life
00:03:59

Inflo, Producer - Dean Josiah Cover, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - Kadeem Clarke, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - Cleopatra Nikolic, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - SAULT, MainArtist

2020 Forever Living Originals 2020 Forever Living Originals

15
Only Synth in Church
00:00:56

Tom Campbell, Arranger - Inflo, Producer - Dean Josiah Cover, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - Kadeem Clarke, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - SAULT, MainArtist

2020 Forever Living Originals 2020 Forever Living Originals

16
Monsters
00:03:27

Inflo, Producer - Dean Josiah Cover, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - Cleopatra Nikolic, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - SAULT, MainArtist

2020 Forever Living Originals 2020 Forever Living Originals

17
June Child
00:00:58

Melissa Young, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - Inflo, Producer - Dean Josiah Cover, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - Cleopatra Nikolic, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - SAULT, MainArtist

2020 Forever Living Originals 2020 Forever Living Originals

18
Miracles
00:04:17

Melissa Young, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - Inflo, Producer - Dean Josiah Cover, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - Cleopatra Nikolic, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - SAULT, MainArtist

2020 Forever Living Originals 2020 Forever Living Originals

19
Hold Me
00:02:45

Inflo, Producer - Dean Josiah Cover, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - Cleopatra Nikolic, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - SAULT, MainArtist

2020 Forever Living Originals 2020 Forever Living Originals

20
Pray up Stay Up
00:03:45

Inflo, Producer - Dean Josiah Cover, Songwriter, ComposerLyricist - SAULT, MainArtist

2020 Forever Living Originals 2020 Forever Living Originals

Album Description

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 fueled 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 quality control isn't quite as tight. Some songs meander long after making their point. A greater position of the sequence, however, is filled with indestructible art that consoles, challenges, and invigorates with gospel, doo wop, highlife, psychedelicized 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 synthesizer 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.
© Andy Kellman /TiVo

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