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Sinkane - Mars (Review)

Sinkane, Mars

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

SUDANESE New Yorker Sinkane – aka Ahmad Gallab – has delivered a very enjoyable debut album in Mars that embraces a wide variety of styles.

Incorporating deep polyrhythmic grooves that refer as much to early 70’s underground soul as it does to the artist’s Sudanese heritage, it also attempts to be a 21st century party record that acknowledges the international flavour of the world music scene.

Hence, there are funky moments to make you want to dance, tripped out moments that leave you in a haze, and several styles in between.

The highlight undoubtedly comes in the form of opening track Runnin’, which drops a kick-ass backbeat and some funky guitar riffs, as well as a falsetto vocal that recalls the height of classic ’70s soul. It really sets things in motion in effortlessly feel-good fashion.

Jeeper Creeper, the track that follows, is similarly funky, albeit a little more chilled out, and wholly embracing of African rhythms. It’s another good time, complete with some nice supporting vocals from Kathryn Fink.

A little later on Making Time changes Gallab’s vocal style completely, coming over all futuristic and vocoder laced for a slice of dance-funk that is every bit as endearing and cool. It also incorporates some guest sax from stutzmcgee and a snappy guitar solo from George Lewis Jr. The central lyric of “making time, talking jive” is ripe for repeating in live form.

The percussion arrangements on Warm Spell are pretty dazzling and bring back the African feel, while the dub feel of Lovesick carries an almost Roxy Music vibe, and Mars comes over all trippy in a really, really psychedelic way. The flutes from stutzmcgee lend it an almost Lalo Schiffrin/Dirty Harry vibe (that also feels kind of sleazy). It marks the album at its most experimental and also least accessible.

That said, Caparundi ends things on something of a positive, even if the tripped out tendencies remain intact (in an almost Bowie-esque form).

Put together, Mars is an eclectic listen that marks Gallab out as an extremely interesting and talented artist to keep an eye on. Oh, and the Sinkane name comes from his mishearing of the name Joseph Cinqué, the man who led the Amistad Rebellion.

Download picks: Runnin’, Jeeper Creeper, Making Time, Caparundi

Track listing:

  1. Runnin’
  2. Jeeper Creeper
  3. Lady C’mon
  4. Making Time
  5. Warm Spell
  6. Love Sick
  7. Mars
  8. Caparundi