28th September 2023
Time: 19:00 - 23:00
Price: £15 + BF
Hak Baker does not, on the face of it, seem like an obvious candidate for apocalyptic thoughts. To encounter the acclaimed Isle of Dogs native and self-styled ‘G-folk’ star – all devilish grin, infectious East End charm and whirling tales of youthful mischief – is not to be immediately put in mind of a jittery doomsday prepper, stacking canned goods in a bomb-proof shelter. But appearances can be deceiving. And now, Baker’s forthcoming progression as an artist, an extraordinary creative leap tailor-made for an era of social inequity, internet addiction and post-pandemic disillusionment, arrives shaped by his belief that (figuratively, at least) only societal collapse can pave the way for a better, brighter tomorrow.
“We’re bombarded with information these days and everywhere you look things are going to shit,” he says, flashing that trademark smile. “Communication is dying, generic people skills are in the ground. People are scared to do things because they’re scared of the incoming war. But it’s on the tip of everyone’s tongue and on the edge of every phone screen. Everyone’s a diplomat and all about this talking. But I really feel like things have to be completely burnt and destroyed before they can come back together.”
The result of this urge is the fittingly revolutionary World’s End FM: a debut album of staggering scope, ambition and scuffed melodic gorgeousness that introduces the wider world to Baker’s singular, mercurial folk-poetry in the manner of a molotov cocktail being ‘introduced’ to a window. Its premise alone is hard to resist. Building on the street-level stories and bruised geezer confessionals of his output since 2017’s career-launching Misfits EP, World’s End FM takes the form of a pirate radio broadcast from the edge of armageddon. Executive produced by Hak and Karma Kid and compiled from two years of prolific sessions with in-demand producers including Speedy Wunderground’s Dan Carey, Shrink and Misfits producer Ali Bla Bla, the record crackles as the genre dial is twiddled from rip-snorting post-punk to lilting roots reggae. A rolling cast of friends and family (including Connie Constance and Allan Mustafah aka Kurupt FM’s MC Grindah) drop by for phone-in skits; and there, at the centre of it all, is Baker – a one-man Greek chorus and cackling conduit, leading the listener through this unsettling, exhilarating, and unexpectedly life-affirming apocalyptic fantasia.