Born in London, teethed in Sudan, raised in Utah and schooled in Brooklyn, Ahmed Gallab has as much right as anyone to attempt a global style of pop music. That he does it so well, and apparently effortlessly, is what makes his band Sinkane's second album so exciting. It begins with synths, the common thread in 2012 debut Mars, and the key instrument for bands like Yeasayer and Caribou, with whom Gallab served his apprenticeship. But just seconds into the opener, How We Be, the music veers off into different sounds: a deep, Curtis Mayfield-esque groove; a delicate falsetto; a final layer of wind instrumentation that hints at Afrobeat. The concoctions continue as dub reggae is paired with steel guitar on Young Trouble, Tropicalia with torch song on Moonstruck and straight-up country on the title track. All this sonic collage might just seem like showing off if it weren't all put continuously to the service of the songs. Each track, often on the theme of soured love, has a simplicity and a directness that is characteristic of the best pop.
Paul MacInnes is a reporter for the Guardian