I realize I`m well late on this. Please forgive me. My excuse is that as far I know no copies of Sault`s debut record, 5, ever made it to Japan. By the time I heard about it – through friends and associates raving on-line – the rest of the world had already sold out. Luckily the kind folks at Sounds Of The Universe eventually managed to secure one for me, and, quickly converted, as soon as the follow-up, 7, was announced my order went in.
Both records are broadly speaking “rhythm and blues”, but from a stripped-back palette they succeed in summoning a spectrum of sonics and emotions. 5 had deep soul dancing to reconstituted b-boy breaks and Moog freak-outs. The drummer beat-juggling between afro-centric grooves and head-nodding hip hop. Accapellas floated above ambient electronic arpeggios. Its street soul adorned with 1950s throwback harmony. The percussive – tambourine-tapping, group-chanting, synthetically squelching, Iko-Iko nursery rhyme – ritual of Up All Night had everyone name-checking Goat. While We Are The Sun had me thinking of N*E*R*D`s In Search Of…The shiniest stone in this whole pile of rough-hewn diamonds though perhaps being the polished, smooth, smart, pop of Why Why Why. Its chorus aching like Lana Del Rey at the disco.
7 sticks to its predecessor`s backbone of bass, drums and guitar, but comes out of the gate banging barrio timbales and Sal Principato`s cowbell. Bringing comparisons to Mudd Club-era New York, ESG and Liquid Liquid. Racing, unrestrained like early Gramme. Jamming Ibibio Sound Machine-esque keys. When the tempo drops this time, its raw, lo-fi – De La Soul meets Depth Charge. The production part Phenomenal Handclap Band, part HE3 Project`s Shovel Some Dirt. Its six-strings sometimes tuned to The Liminanas psyche, its melodies to Love`s Spanish-leanings. The tone a little grittier still.
Lyrically 7 is a blues, a modern gospel. A set of spirituals to the obstacles (red lights everywhere you go) and traps of a game rigged decades, centuries, before you were born. Talking you down and through an urban maze, a 70s Scorsese Taxi Driver-coloured landscape of boarded windows, churches turned into skateparks and shooting galleries, glamourous mirror-balled halls collapsed in decay.
Both 5 and 7 are available at Sault`s Bandcamp page, care of Forever Living Originals.