Santigold: Spirituals review – full of feeling and fervour | Pop and rock

Santigold’s latest album is a lockdown project created in an attempt to return to her normal self after the pandemic. Although it’s been 14 years since her genre-bending, self-titled debut was met with praise and awe, time hasn’t affected the singer-songwriter’s ability to create rich, textured pop that reverberates beyond the dancefloor.

Spirituals is short, only 10 songs, but it’s a winding journey through a landscape of loneliness, triumph and rage, inspired by African American folk song. On the opener My Horror, Santigold’s buoyant mezzo-soprano voice contrasts with the melancholy subject matter: “Look around and see they dead too.” Her existential ruminations continue on No Paradise, which departs from her usual electro-rock sonics and veers into Afrobeats with a sakara-style drumbeat. It’s a pictorially vivid track that is politically minded too: “Thieve, break, take. More power. Seize, lie, steal. More power.”

Things get ethereal on The Lasty: spooky melodies underpin breathy, operatic vocals, though frustratingly the song plateaus by the second verse. Ain’t Ready, with its heavy drums and gritty synths, delivers the kind of punchy atmosphere that feels idiosyncratic to Santigold, while Fall First bursts with electric guitar, high-pitched backup and a shouty chorus. This whirlwind album is full of feeling and fervour, and its liveliness affirms just why she is a singular talent.

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