Cleo Sol: Mother review – intimate and spacious soul-jazz | Soul
Bis known as one of the voices of the mysterious pre-soul group Sault, Cleo Sol delivers their second solo album with little context. Three figures adorn the cover: Sol, a baby and the photo of a young woman on the wall behind. We have to assume that the three are related and that Mother, the continuation of the 2020s Pink in darkness album, talk about these relationships.
Cleopatra Zvezdana Nikolic named herself “Sol” in homage to her mother’s half-Spanish heritage; her mom’s advice was a presence on the 2019 track Sweet Blue. These 12 new songs pay more homage to support in hard times, while one of the two great eight-minute centerpieces, One Day, promises to “always be there for … my angel, born in June.” Sol is mothered, and mothering.
You suspect that this care is not limited to people who are genetically related. Sol delivers broader encouragement, analysis of formative memories, and pleas to everyone’s faith in her light tones, as producer Inflo weaves orchestral soul jazz around her. Stevie Wonder is a magnet here, but Sol sings with a relaxed, delicate intimacy that can make Mother you feel like you are getting involved in private conversations. It’s a quieter, more spacious, introverted job than Pink in darkness.