Hak Baker speaks the truth. The East London artist has built his army, with fans flocking to his shows. They’re a motley crew, too – jaded indie fans, burned out rap fans, discontented pop fans, each searching for something different. A deeply alternative voice, Hak Baker has something no one else has – songs, anthems hewn from his own life, delivered with an absolute, unfiltered sense of honesty.
Debut album ‘World’s End FM’ epitomises this approach. The genre-hopping influences are distilled into something unified and unique, rough-hewn tales of life on the fringes. It’s not afraid to get dark, but there’s humour too – on record, as on the stage, Hak Baker is irrepressible.
‘DOOLALLY’ is an immediate highlight, followed by the bold statement of community that is ‘Windrush Baby’. ‘Collateral Cause’ has a wistful, moving quality, something that in the wrong hands might become mawkish – not here, though, with Hak producing something with genuine empathy.
‘Bricks In The Wall’ merges indie songwriting with electronic production, a kind of Jamie T meets Pet Shop Boys brew. Deft pop music, it deserves to ring out of every radio in the land. Equally, ‘Full On’ is slick but still impactful, the chorus staying in your head for hours at a time.
A true statement of his capabilities, ‘World’s End FM’ is styled as a kind of alternative universe pirate radio broadcast. Songwriting at its most illicit, the punchy vocal on ‘Telephones 4 Eyez’ is offset by the anthemics of ‘Brotherhood’ for example, or the beautiful introspection of ‘Almost Lost London’.
Indeed, there is admirable breadth on display here. Even the skits are perfectly utilised – Kurupt FM’s MC Grindah comes along for the ride, but then so too does the wonderful Connie Constance. Closing with ‘The End Of The World’, this is an album that dares to push aside the bullshit, and give you the truth.
Words: Robin Murray