Care in the Community

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.

New Internationalist issue 394 magazine cover This article is from the October 2006 issue of New Internationalist.
You can access the entire archive of over 500 issues with a digital subscription. Get a free trial »

Subscribe   Ethical Shop