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Sinkane - We Belong (Album Review)

Friday, 12 April 2024 Written by Jacob Brookman

Photo: Dani Barbieri

The world has changed since Ahmed Gallab last released a full album. On 2019’s ‘Dépaysé’, the Sudanese-American musician and bandleader delivered an album of joyous communitarian indie-pop shot through with influences from African music and funk. Since then, Covid and Joe Biden have happened and, perhaps most importantly for this album, Gallab has completed a Master’s degree in Composition. The result is an enormously accomplished work of musical, tonal and generic flexibility.

There are many magical moments. Everything is Everything, featuring Tru Osborne, is a sludgy swaggerer that melds spacy bass with dreamy vocal arrangement. Despite having a great voice, Gallab’s singing is fairly straightforward. It is probably because of this that he has brought in collaborators like Osborne, and the result is elevated, bringing a soulful, churchy vibe to the track that he probably couldn’t have delivered on his own.

Similarly, Come Together uses synth disco elements to take Sinkane’s sound towards Daft Punk and beyond. Thrillingly, the lyrics are often sung in unison — occasionally breaking into harmonies — which gives the music uncommon power and precision.

It doesn’t all completely land, though. How Sweet is Your Love is another disco-derived track, but this time it feels slightly cheesy and derivative despite intricate stylings and an excellent vocal line from Gallab. That said, this has the flavour of a song that might push Sinkane into the earbuds of new audiences in the same way that Jamiroquai’s disco catalogue did from ‘A Funk Odyssey’ onwards.

And, actually, that’s not a bad comparison to make. Sinkane offer a different prospect to Jamiroquai thematically, but musically there are a lot of similarities; in genre, arrangement, and the embrace of Stevie Wonder as a kind of spiritual north star.

One of the side effects of the TikTokification of pop music is an increase in relentlessly repetitive, AutoTuned tracks that sound like they were generated by AI. ‘We Belong’ joyously bucks this trend. This is triple A composition played by human beings. 

Sinkane Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed May 15 2024 - LONDON Moth Club

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