Bells Atlas

Salt and Soap

Electro-pop | R&B

Tender Loving Empire


afropunk premiere: bells atlas ‘salt and soap’

September 19, 2018
174 Picks

Any release from the Oakland Afropop group Bells Atlas is a sumptuous feast for the ears. It is the sound of a band reveling in unexpected tones and rhythms, whether that’s the waves of reverb that drip from Sandra Lawson-Ndu’s voice, Geneva Harrison’s polyrhythmic bursts of noise and percussion, or how Derek Barber’s guitar work flits from jagged edges to smooth licks like vogue.

The latest Bells Atlas EP, Salt and Soap, is full of the torn-paper rhythms and ethereal hooks that make the band so unique, hiding universes of depth beneath the waves. It’s “inspired by cleansing rituals and preservation methods,” the band explains in the press release. “When you’re not accustomed to releasing your most personal stories, the idea is to take a moment to prepare for this shift—this new way of being open.”

There’s not a bad song in the bunch, running from the sumptuous “Overshare” to the haunting “The Mystic.” But the highlight is the simultaneously focused and expansive “I Do Remain,” which builds from a distorted sample into one of the best tracks of the band’s career.

Stream the whole thing exclusively at, and look for the release this Friday 9/21 via Tender Loving Empire. Check out the band’s website for upcoming tour dates.