This début album from the London-based singer Babar Luck is extraordinary by anyone’s standards. From the opening bars of ‘1 Luv’, featuring a stratospheric guitar that sounds like it’s channelling a lost Smiths song, it’s clear that this young musician is set to defy all expectations.
Care in the Community riffs its way forward with a punk directness that has its spiritual roots in the Clash’s direct action, with Bob Marley’s ‘sufferation’ and, in its imagery and rolling Urdu accent, a London where curry-and-chips have a ubiquity that says much about integration.
But the community to which Luck’s title makes a sardonic reference is a problematic one. ‘The white culture showed me a lot/ An’ the black cultures showed me a lot/ An’ my own people taught me a lot/ Only the real people showed me luv,’ he sings on ‘1 Luv’. Luck’s small band – his guitar and occasional keyboards are joined by saxophonist Lu Edmonds and drummer Mark Roberts – allows an unfettered movement, and this strength is pivotal to his 12 songs.
There are some sweet touches – ‘Raj Kapoor & Nargis’ is a Bollywood daydream in the East End – on the album, but its standouts are in the righteous ire of its epic songs. ‘The Fight Game’ could be a latterday Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Boxer’, while ‘War Fever’ sets its chin against conflict on both the world stage and the local streets. Resounding in the right ears, Care in the Community is a weapon for peace.Louise Gray