April 28, 2017

sinkane

Evan Gabriel has danced himself clean.

As the bandleader of New York’s Sinkane, Ahmed Gallab set out to write his latest album, Life & Livin’ It, to explore beauty and pain, while keeping the music fun. Gallab channeled the communal party vibes of Funkadelic’s America Eats Its Young during the writing process. This results in some of those brilliantly radiant moments you want cast over your next birthday celebration.

Sinkane’s sound switches between Afrobeat, jazz, and funk, along with some hints of pop. But don’t let the labels limit the music’s scope: the opening of “Deadweight” sounds like it could be a Fleet Foxes song, while there’s a traceable Prince influence on “Telephone.” The album’s second track, “U’Huh,” is a horn-fueled red carpet introduction: “We’re all going to be alright…find someone to love, and love yourself,” sings Gallab over crawling vocal harmonies. This song has the kind of jumping fervor that’s perfect for a sophisticated dancefloor. During the recording process of Life & Livin’ It, Sinkane tested the songs at their Union Pool residency in Brooklyn. The sheer grooviness of “U-Huh” says quite a bit about the litmus test itself.

“Favorite Song” instantly highlights itself as, in fact, your new favorite song. The infectious hook and popping guitar melody are illustriously catchy without any trace of camp. In his native arabic, Gallab sings: “ya zol ya zain!” a Sudanese term meaning, “my beautiful friend.” In a recent interview with Bandcamp, Gallab stressed the simplicity in those terms; he brings them out because they “just feel good, you don’t have to know what they mean.” Life & Livin’ It seamlessly weds classic and contemporary sounds. Nothing feels forced. The tracks are undeniably funky. “Favorite Song” is a reminder that you don’t need to understand the words to dance.