Cleo Sol's 'Gold' Feels Like a Sonic Rebirth
As if Heaven wasn’t enough of an offering, British R&B priestess Cleo Sol has released yet another fragment of her heart in the form of the full-length project Gold, both released within a two-week span.
Sol has contributed to the neo-soul genre almost overwhelmingly over the last decade. Through her solo work and within the anonymity of alt-soul collective Sault, her ability to alchemize emotion and mold it into brave and perfectly poised art makes her stand out as one of the industry’s most promising.
Following Sault’s affinity for releasing multiple projects in one go, there are subtle yet defining distinctions within the tones of both of these projects. While Heaven feels like an internal reckoning, Gold is a more spiritually driven album, as she witnesses what life has lived through her and bottles it in a sonic elixir. “This album was made for God, to honor and give thanks, always,” Sol reflects. “Many tears, felt fear, pushed through anyway, that was so key.” Exploring themes of love, religion, and self-actualization, this project is a baptism.
From Sade to Musiq Soulchild to Erykah Badu to D'Angelo, there are hints of R&B’s greatest as she bows to the bones of the genre while infusing it with her own kiss. Her voice is just as much of an instrument as the pianos that build around her, softly swimming with the music rather than demanding it. While her lyrics are gently understated on Heaven, Gold leans much more into narrative.
Cleo Sol’s music is medicine. Her soul bearing honesty, gentle compassion for the roughness of her edges, and guidance as she holds the hand of her younger self speak to a generation doing their best to do their best. She’s telling all of our stories, illuminating the path with hope, resilience, and self-forgiveness, There isn’t a single doubt that her trajectory is leading her far beyond where she’s already arrived, a comfortable seat next to the greats awaiting her arrival.
Listen to Gold below: