Sa-Ra Creative Partners, ‘Nuclear Evolution: The Age of Love’ (Ubiquity)
Sa-Ra’s rep as future-soul avatars has seemed more myth than reality, with a messy discography that includes an unreleased debut for Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music (part of which emerged on 2007’s The Hollywood Recordings) and several contributions to Erykah Badu’s epic New Amerykah Part One (4th World War). But the glorious Nuclear Evolution finally realizes their potential, with lyrical themes swerving from cocaine abuse to prostitution to redemptive love, over swaggering synth funk (“White Cloud”), melancholy psychedelica (“Dirty Beauty,” featuring Badu), and giddy soul jazz (“Love Czar”). Fusing spirituality and sin, cynicism and optimism, it’s a panorama that throws you into dark nightlife, then lifts you out, invigorated, into a new day.