Published Aug 26, 2014As expansive as his influences are, Ahmed Gallab sure knows how to reel it in. Running the gamut from afro-jazz and country soul to Blaxploitation and funk-pop, you could excuse Sinkane's new album for being a messy smorgasbord of sounds and ideas, yet no excuses are necessary. Mean Love, Sinkane's third full-length and second release on DFA Records, manages to create a sense of romanticism without ever being overtly emotional, with straightforward lyrics that somehow remain affecting.
None of the ten tracks found on the album give you a sense of the overall feel of the project, yet none of the tracks feel out of place, either; standouts such as "Galley Boys" and the title track delve deep into country soul and feel both like outsiders and album pillars. There's an inherent nostalgia that permeates the whole project, which ironically manages to feel very current, as if it could only really have been created in modern times. Gallab spent the better part of his career cutting his teeth as a touring and session musician for artists such as Caribou, Yeasayer and Of Montreal, but rather than making the listener wonder how they influenced his own work, Mean Love makes one ponder how much of an influence he was on theirs. It becomes its own entity, one that knows where it came from and where it's going, and making absolutely no apologies for what it's become in the now.
Third single "New Name" remains as glorious as it did when it first came out, and while not indicative of the album as a whole, is still its shining beacon and a strong Song of the Year contender. Mean Love lends itself well to any situation, whether in the background while cleaning or at a late-summer BBQ, which bodes well for its already-assured longevity. (DFA)