Saul Williams - Volcanic Sunlight
Aggro-poet Saul Williams is never one to go by convention, so of course he releases his new album Volcanic Sunlight on a Friday.
Williams is as sharp-tongued as ever with his socially aware lyrics. That shouldn't come as a shock to anyone who's familiar with his work.
What is surprising is how musically diverse this record is. The album is far more varied than the Trent Reznor-produced The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust.
One can almost see paisley projections when listening to "Give It Up". Ominous strings, another new element, and a rumbling beat make "Diagram" the creepiest number on the record. Very surprising is "Dance", which provides Williams' first true toe-tapping moment. Later, we get a full-on hook with the glimmering Moby-esque "Rocket".
An affection for '70s soul rears its head on this album. The slick funk of "Explain My Heart" sounds like a modernization of "I'm Your Pusher"-era Curtis Mayfield, while "Triumph" has some Stevie Wonder-esque flashes to it.
The in-your-face stance hasn't been abandoned completely as the seering rap of "Girls On Saturn" proves. Elsewhere, "Patience" hammers hard and often with a concussive drum beat. At the other end of the spectrum is "Fall Up", a light, wafting affair.
Volcanic Sunlight demonstrates that Saul Williams is adept at more than just the relentless spoken word. He's rounding into a very capable musician while still doing things on his own terms.
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