Care In The Community

  • Babar Luck
  • Rebel Music
  • 2006-04-03

Funny that World Music should always be so warm and optimistic considering, well, you know the world isn’t always so…warm and optimistic. Bah Humbug. Babar Luck, jetting in from Pakistan, via East London where he has lived since he was 8 years old, would have us all thinking differently about ourselves with his latest album Care in the Community with its blend of pop and World Music and earthly tales of life growing up in East London. So we wonder, is it a London ting…?

Babar Luck’s music exemplifies the ethnic diversity of East London and London itself with its sound that is rooted in British rock pop, the Beatles, Clash (without the punk) etc that invites snippets of reggae, eastern sounds and occasionally his Pakistani mother tongue. Central to the mix is Babar Luck’s voice, sounding sometimes like a less lush version of Finley Quaye but fairly sweet nonetheless, many of the songs here are word heavy and fuelled by religion and politics. “One Luv”, (has someone mentioned that before?) is no different from the above formula with Babar calling for One Love, “we believe in truth, we believe in love, we believe in one”, over a set of jaunty ska and jangly guitars. The title track, “Care in the Community”, repeats the pattern, singing “there’s no care in the community just sweet disharmony, everyone just out for themselves” and this is as about as deep as it gets.

played live with a little more edge to it, this music might be worth a passing visit

Easy to be cynical here, it’s just that everything on this album is just a little too easily condensed. This condensed feel ranges from the sound, lightweight guitar tunes with intermittent eastern sitar samples or ska/reggae tempos, to the lyrics that hark back to a nostalgic feel for the tough divide growing up as an ethnic minority which then on occasions go onto seamlessly breach this divide for a technicolour dreamworld. It’s not so much that Babar Luck maybe unwittingly simplifies matters that disappoints, it’s the repercussion of everything becoming so condensed that none of it makes for that interesting listening. For music and lyrics that are attempting to recount a culture and part of the world that is intense, vibrant and sometimes challenging there simply isn’t any detail. This is illustrated on the track “My Friend Used To Be (A Madaxeman)”, which seems to disregard the subject material for a relaxingly strummed lullaby — Babar dude, if this has any truth to it, ie if your mate really was some sort of axe murderer then at least make this track a little edgy. Gees he must have seen some shit.

A lot of this is pleasant enough, makes us wonder and Babar’s voice is fairly strong, and played live with a little more edge to it, this music might be worth a passing visit. As it is though this music is slap bang in the middle of the road, or, in the middle of the world.

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