On their seventh album, having a sense of belonging as a London born Sudanese person living in America in the Trump era make up much of the albums focus and indeed much of the meaning behind its title. As the bands Ahmad Gallab says “At some point, I discovered the French word dépaysé, which basically means “to be removed from one’s habitual surroundings.” By extension, it means to be disoriented, homeless. That’s a feeling I relate to very much in these times — and I’m not the only one who feels this way. That word gave me clarity and made the journey inward that much more exciting.”
These feelings are firmly in view from the very start of the album, with opener Everybody with the band attesting ‘Everybody means everybody’. Along with the upbeat lyrics about moving forward, the track embodies what Sinkane in 2019 are all about; this heady mix of african funk, psychedelic rock and plain old pop sensibilities. Throw in these whipped up synths and battering ram guitar that are scattered all over the record and it’s something that is as uplifting as it is enjoyable.
Those pop sensibilities are thrown out to the world on the brilliant Everyone, while On being hammers home the thoughts that this is the most accessible and down right melodic record Sinkane have made. Towards the middle of the record, Sinkane returns to this idea of identity, commenting I confront my insecurities with identity on songs like “Ya Sudan,” “Dépaysé” and “The Searching.” Truly understanding one’s duality means seeing beyond where you came from: let go of any definition that others put on you and then you can truly see the beauty of your life experience.”
The title track begins like something Santana would be proud of until this incredible, ambitious guitar solo gives way to something that is much more african, while Ya Sedan focuses on the people of his homeland and their unquenchable spirit over this joyful afro-funk work out, but as is Sinkane’s want, eggs are spread amongst folkier and even countryish baskets.
Be Here Now, with its more serious overtones, and more confrontational lyrics ‘how will I ever know if i’m free/if you keeps pushing your ideas’ proves that it isn’t just a party record, although The Searching twists things around, the melancholy of the melody pitted against this heavy funk background, before the straight up reggae of Mango finishes the record on this hazy high.
“I’m no longer confused about the duality of my Sudanese and American identities. Now I accept it.” For the listener it’s a record that, for all it’s messages and mash ups, works because its packed full of impossibly catchy tunes and spirit that make it frankly irresistible.