Cleo Sol’s Heaven is a testament to the UK singer’s growth and evolution as an artist. As a vocalist for the enigmatic collective SAULT, which delves into the multifaceted nature of the Black experience, Cleo Sol has always been a beacon of warmth and optimism. Her previous albums have been suffused with this warmth, drawing inspiration from legends like Stevie Wonder and Erykah Badu. With Heaven, she continues this trajectory, but with an added layer of confidence and ease.
The album’s title, Heaven, is apt. It’s a project that feels ethereal, with Cleo Sol’s voice floating effortlessly over intricate arrangements. Tracks like “Go Baby” and “Nothing on Me” showcase her vocal prowess, with her falsetto drifting over the production like mist over a serene lake. The instrumentation, too, is a highlight, with slick bass lines, synths, and a diverse range of sounds that make the album feel both cohesive and exploratory.
One of the standout aspects of Heaven is its thematic depth. Cleo Sol delves into topics of faith, self-love, and relationships with a sensitivity that’s both touching and relatable. “Miss Romantic” is a poignant track, addressing the challenges of love and the importance of self-worth. The lyrics are both direct and compassionate, highlighting Cleo Sol’s ability to convey complex emotions with simplicity and grace.
However, it’s not just the themes that stand out. The sonic diversity of the album is commendable. While her 2021 release, Mother, was characterized by piano-driven pop arrangements, Heaven feels warmer, funkier, and more varied. The interplay between the instruments and Cleo Sol’s voice is a highlight, creating a soundscape that’s immersive and captivating.
Yet, for all its strengths, there are moments in Heaven where the lyrics feel a tad generic. While Cleo Sol’s delivery is always on point, some tracks could benefit from more specific storytelling. That said, these moments are few and far between, and they don’t detract from the overall impact of the album.
In conclusion, Cleo Sol’s Heaven is a neo-soul gem. It’s an album that resonates with warmth, depth, and authenticity. Whether you’re a longtime fan of Cleo Sol or new to her music, Heaven is a journey worth embarking on. It’s a reflection of an artist at the peak of her powers, and a reminder of the transformative power of music.