The producer for Little Simz, Michael Kiwanuka, and Adele, Inflo, leads the purposefully enigmatic British R&B group Sault. On their new EP, “Angel,” which is really a single 10-minute song that sounds more like three separate songs and a spoken-word passage merged into one, Sault is back.
As usual with this group, there is little information about the release, but it is likely that an album is soon to follow.
Unsurprisingly, the new album differs significantly from almost everything the avant-garde R&B ensemble has ever recorded.
A male reggae vocalist—apparently Jamaican musician Chronixx, who is listed on the song with Inflo and British singer Jack Penate—sings over a jazzy percussion and a repeating lead guitar hook at the beginning of “Angel,” which sounds like a power-trio rendition of a Bob Marley classic.
After three minutes, however, the song abruptly ends and transitions into a piano-led ballad with Chronixx continuing to sing about Zion with the help of a beautiful, soulful chorus. Following a spoken word segment, the song closes with what is essentially a third song—a soft acoustic tune—fading out with the chorus of “Soul Rebel.”
For an organization whose goal appears to be to keep people guessing, it’s yet another significantly different turn. The group has defied expectations since its debut in 2019 and has since released five albums of angular, innovative R&B with strong, confrontational lyrics in less than two years (one of which, “Nine,” was free but only available for 99 days). Last year, the group threw a complete curveball when it released “Air,” an entirely symphonic album.
They generated sufficient excitement for Inflo to receive an invitation to work with Adele on her “30” album, and he ultimately co-wrote and produced three songs.
Sault intentionally leaves the identity of its members unclear, but a look through the album’s credits reveals that Inflo (Dean Josiah Cover), a songwriter-producer who has worked with Little Simz, Michael Kiwanuka, and Jungle, as well as singer Cleo Sol (Cleopatra Nikolic) or Kadeem Clarke on several other projects, is largely responsible for its conception.
The biggest mystery of all is how they manage to maintain such a low profile, much alone pay for five full-length albums that weren’t inexpensive to make in two years when they’re giving away a lot of their recorded music.