Here they come again. The enigmatic SAULT (are they still enigmatic?). It’s difficult to remember an artist/band who created the album of the year in one year, followed it up in the same year with an album just as good (almost), then followed them the following year with another album of (almost) the same standard. This isn’t a band – this is a machine.
2021 saw SAULT move on from one big issue to another – from the illegal gunning down of Black citizens in the US to gang culture in London. Nine is a plea. It’s bad enough that the police are slaying us without us killing each other.
Musically, they plough a similar furrow. It’s still gorgeously soulful and melodic, albeit with a twist.
There’s one more quite beautiful aspect of Nine. In making Nine time-bound, they have effectively de-commoditised their art. For the first three months of its release you could listen to it on all of the digital channels you liked. Then, silence. These tunes are not throwaway. They are not disposable. You want it, buy the physical product. There is something utterly wonderful about that.