How We Be
Born in Sudan, Ahmed Gallab fled with his family to the U.S., where he was eventually raised in Ohio. His musical soul sent him to Brooklyn, where he brought his percussion work to indie music folks (Caribou, Of Montreal, Yeasayer) while working on his solo project, Sinkane, the entire time. Gallab’s interest in rhythms guarantees that Mean Love is meant for dancing. Yet his silky vocals have such heart that the music also channels the emotions of ’60s and ’70s soul music. “How We Be” starts things with a low-key noir sound that’s immediately fleshed out on “New Name,” where the sounds of Philly soul and disco combine with Gallab’s easygoing voice for an interesting tug of war. A Curtis Mayfield vibe breaks out on “Yacha.” Bossa nova floats into the mild funk of “Moonstruck.” The title track offers a sense of ’50 pop-rock with a country-western flavor mixing with Gallab’s angelic falsetto. Anyone thinking C&W is too much a stretch will be assured it works on “Galley Boys,” where pedal steel guitar meets a vague dub rhythm and a soft-rock vocal.