Sault’s Quintet of Albums Keeps Listeners Intrigued



Sault released five albums: Today & Tomorrow, AIIR, 11, Earth, and Untitled (God).

On November 1, 2022 the British soul and funk band Sault released a whopping 5 albums at once behind a password protected download link. A post on social media read, “We will release 5 album’s on November 1st as an offering to God.” I hadn’t listened to Sault before and the way these albums were rolled out immediately had me hooked. It was such a mysterious and intriguing way to introduce the albums that I couldn’t help but immediately listen.

Today & Tomorrow
From the first song, I could tell Today & Tomorrow is a massively atmospheric record. The first few songs sound like a jam band just having fun messing around in a studio. The drummer and bass player gel really well together, laying down thick grooves that you can’t help but bop your head to. I think the opening track “In the Beginning” is a very good example of this. The six and a half minute track feels almost like a jam band-esque, and kicks the album off with a great energy. As the album continues you get tastes of punk rock on cuts like “Money” or “The Plan”. The lyrics on this album and across most of the albums here are really simple, repeated mantras that carry on throughout the entirety of the tracks. It works for some songs but not for others. Overall this is a very solid project that I was hooked into the whole time. It’s fun, groovy, and very lively. Today & Tomorrow gets a very respectable 7/10.

After listening to “Today & Tomorrow ”, I was expecting more drum and bass-centric funk on AIIR, but I instead was surprised to be greeted by a full on orchestra. I wasn’t expecting this left turn so it took a while for me to adjust to the new sound, but I can firmly say this piece is beautiful. The string sections make me feel like I was sitting in a movie theater with a sweeping score right at the climax of the movie. I can’t say much about this album due to the shorter run time, and the fact that I am completely out of my element when talking about classical, but I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed the project from beginning to end.
I give AIIR a 7/10 as well.

I gotta say, Sault keeps me on a roll with 11. This is definitely my favorite project out of the bunch. The sonic diversity and catchy melodies strewn throughout the whole project keeps me dancing along to songs like “Higher” with its 70’s inspired synth line, or melting to the lush singing on “Fight For Love”. All the songs here are very similar to “Today & Tomorrow” with their own flare thrown in. The song “Together” is a major highlight for me with its wah-wah (an effect that makes a guitar sound like its saying “wah-wah”) guitars reminding me of early 70’s funk. The only lowlight on this project is the song “Jack’s Gift”, which is just too repetitive for my liking. This is a great album and if you were to listen to only one of these five albums, it should be this one. 11 gets an 8/10 from me.

Not everything can be a hit, right? That’s certainly true for Earth. This project I just can’t get into at all. The album’s problems can be exemplified in one track: “The Lord’s With Me”. This 8 minute beast is mind numbingly repetitive with some cool ideas that wear out their welcome quickly. The african-inspired percussion on the track is too simple to carry a whole 8 minutes, and having “The Lord’s With Me” chanted over and over and over again for at least half of the song just drowned me in my boredom. Though there are highlights to the album, “Valley of the Ocean” is probably one of my favorite songs out of all of these albums, and “Stronger” is another great tune, but still the negatives outweigh the positives when it comes to Earth so I give it a 4/10.

Untitled (God)
Untitled is a behemoth, running for a whopping 21 tracks and an hour and 13 minutes. Right off the bat, this album needs to be shorter. There are some tracks on it that really have no reason for their existence. Take for instance the track “Rafael’s Prayer” its the shortest cut on the album clocking in at 58 seconds, and those 58 seconds are filled with a kid talking about how he prays during basically every aspect of the day. This would be just fine as an interlude, but across this entire album, there are 4-5 cuts just like it. Even three songs later, “Dear Lord” accomplishes this same goal with an actual prayer accompanied by some great mellow backing instrumental to flesh it out. Anyway, most of Untitled is a gospel album with tastes of funk as seen on “God Is Love” and “Champions” or jazz as seen on “Safe Within Your Hands”. The highlights of the album actually come with the last two songs, “God in Disguise” and “Life We Rent But Love is Rent Free”. These are definitely the two most accessible songs out of all five of these albums with very poppy and up beat choruses to close out the record. There are definitely good ideas on this album, but the essential tracks are too few and far between with very similar sounding songs filling out a majority of the run time. This album could truly be great if they cut 6-7 songs off, but because they aren’t I gotta give Untitled a 6/10.