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SAULT, '9'

The mysterious, if not quite anonymous, U.K. collective SAULT returned Friday with its fifth LP, Nine, and the album's title track encapsulates the rare combination that made the secretive soul group one of 2020's breakthrough acts. "9" is full of gentle breakbeats, eerie grooves and lyrics that speak to racial injustice and Black resilience, specifically for Black boys and girls growing up in British public housing.

The message aligns with a rare (maybe the first?) statement by SAULT, which appeared on its Instagram on Wednesday. "Some of us are from the heart of London's council estates where proud parents sought safer environments to raise their families. Community is the only real genuine support & the majority of us get trapped in a systemic loop where a lot of resources & options are limited. Adults who fail to heal from childhood traumas turn to alcohol & drugs as medicine. Young girls & boys looking for leadership can get caught up in gang life. It's very easy to judge. What would you do if this were you?"

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