That motherhood is transformative is an understatement. For those who have the experience, it can change who they are and how they perceive the world, with fresh eyes, an open heart, and a devotion so deep it feels like being unmade. Thus, it's fitting that Cleo Sol’s Mother begins with a monument to maternal love—its abundant patience and grace for which she has a new understanding. “The train never stopped, never had time to unpack your trauma,” the British singer-songwriter croons gently on the opening track, “Don’t Let Me Fall.” “Keep fighting the world, that’s how you get love, mama.” Likewise, “Heart Full of Love” is an ode to her own child (who adorns the cover) that strives to portray both the power of that singular feeling and the gratitude that’s leveled her in its presence: “Thank you for sending me an angel straight from heaven, when my hope was gone, you made me strong...Thank you for being amazing, teaching me to hold on.” The rest of Mother unfurls like a letter addressed to a little one who, once removed from the safety of the womb, may come to know cruelty more often than mercy. On the piano-laden centerpiece “We Need You,” she pours into whoever may hear it a reminder of their worth, while a choir summons the divine. “We need your heart, we need your soul,” they sing, “we need your strength through this cold world, we need your voice, speak your truth.” Similar affirmations pepper the album, as Cleo imbues the lyrics with a tenderness that lands like a hug; her voice itself is so elegant and serene these songs, despite the lushness of the instrumentation, nearly resemble lullabies. It’s easy to be given to pessimism, but what she offers here is a balm, brimming with the kind of compassionate optimism that only new life can bring.

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