Summer’s Not Over… Yet.
After the success of his second album, Mars(2012), Ahmed Gallab – the music sage known as Sinkane – is back again with more tunes.
His latest set of songs is called Mean Love. It’s hard to picture a setting for this album, mainly due to the fact that Gallab changes the vibe several times, creating different dioramas. At parts we’re cruising down a highway on the coastline, at other parts we’re relaxing in a bungalow, wiping off the sand that’s stuck to our skin.
What stays constant throughout are undertones of tropical flavors that, at times, may be hard to find. (Hint: listen for the rattles, rustles, and anything that shakes. Gallab really loves these different types of percussion.) You could definitely call this album “easy listening.” That’s not to say the album is bland. It’s punctuated by tracks like “Moonstruck,” “Mean Love” and “Omdurman,” while the rest of the album lays a solid framework.
The album’s title track “Mean Love” highlights the recurring symbols in the record. “You know I love you, but you’re mean to me,” Gallab sings. Simplicity and playfulness. It’s no big deal. Gallab may feel blue but he shrugs it off with some twangy guitars and a crisp ride cymbal.
For most of the album, Gallab sings in his upper register. This is why one can’t truly picture Gallab unhappy on this record- it’s hard to match his sadder lyrics with a dark, brooding vocalist. He never gets that low. Although his singing seems strained, his sound becomes much smoother after the first few tracks.
If anything will have you hitting replay, it’ll be the track “Omdurman”. It’s the album’s final song, as well as its most lively. It sounds like an Islands song with more beat-heavy elements thrown in for added flavor. Guitars and bass pluck away in the background, drums skip happily along, while in the hooks, keys and sax lead the parade. And it does resemble something of a parade – after the bridge, a chorus (Gallab somewhere in the mix), jolly and smiling, belt out in unison: “”Will I finally settle down, will I finally settle?”
There are some tracks that stick out like prizes in the bottoms of cereal boxes. They make the album worth the multiple listens it deserves. Let’s hope Sinkane doesn’t any time soon.