Sault, the intentionally shadowy British R&B outfit led by Little Simz/ Michael Kiwanuka/ Adele producer Inflo, is back with a new EP called “Angel” — which is actually a single 10-minute song that is more like three different songs and a spoken-word passage combined into one.
While details on the release are slim (as always with this group), presumably an album is not far behind.
Not surprisingly, the new release is different from virtually everything the innovative R&B group has released in the past. “Angel” starts off like a power-trio version of a Bob Marley song, with a male reggae vocalist — apparently Jamaican singer Chronixx, who is credited on the song along with Inflo and British singer Jack Penate — singing over a jazzy drumbeat and a repetitive lead guitar hook. But after three minutes, the song stops and shifts into a piano-led ballad, with Chronixx continuing on theme about Zion, but with a gorgeous soulful chorus backing him. A spoken word passage then follows, and the song concludes with what is basically a third song, a gentle acoustic song that fades out with a “Soul Rebel” chorus.
It’s yet another dramatically different turn for a group whose mission is apparently to keep people guessing. From its first release in 2019, the group has confounded expectations before they could even be formulated, churning out five albums of angular, innovative R&B with powerful, confrontational lyrics in just over two years (one of which, “Nine,” was free, but available for just 99 days) — and then threw a complete curve last year by releasing “Air,” an entirely symphonic album.
They created a strong enough buzz for Inflo to be invited to collaborate with Adele on her “30” album, and he ended up co-writing and producing three songs.
Who exactly is in Sault is intentionally undefined, but past collaborators a dive into the albums’ credits confirm that it’s largely masterminded by songwriter-producer Inflo (Dean Josiah Cover), who has worked with Little Simz, Michael Kiwanuka and Jungle, along with singer Cleo Sol (Cleopatra Nikolic) or Kadeem Clarke on several others.
How they manage to keep such a low profile — let alone pay for five, not-cheap-to-record full-length albums in two years when they’re giving away a large percentage of their recorded music — is perhaps the biggest mystery of all.