Bakar’s new album, Nobody’s Home, is his best work to date; mature in its lyricism, yet still fun in its musicality.
“It’s been a while”, opens Bakar on the opening track of his first record in nearly four years. The peaceful beginnings of ‘Noun’ set the tone; acoustic guitars turn softly, with lyrical optimism and ascending harmonies leading the way.
The theme of optimism carries through the record – stark honesty with glimmers of positivity touch each track. Bakar speaks of how “things are looking up” in ‘Youthenesia’, with the fuzzy synth background erupting into something almost cinematic, before breaking away into fading beats and slowing vocal hooks.
‘The Mission’ reflects on second generation immigration and nepotism while ‘Reclaim!’ has the unrelenting energy of a sunny road-trip, with Maverick Sabre’s vocal and production prowess contributing via catchy chorus hooks. Each track is unique in its execution, from colourful, poppier melodies, all the way to loud punk-infused rants about love and society.
The emotive ‘GP’ is almost IDLES-esque; shouty, drum-heavy punk rooted by enraged lyricism, with high-flying emotions conflicting the much more muted sounds of following track ‘Alone Again’. “Hold my hair while I hold my breath”, sings Bakar, in a deep portrayal of the effects of depression, exploring the desperation to get rid of the numbness and the pain, and a reliance on others to get through the tough times.
Politically-charged storytelling is a figure throughout the album, with Bakar painting striking imagery via pensive lyrics. ‘Not From Here’ echoes earlier observations on immigration, whilst ‘Riot’ reflects on the feeling of being silenced and prevented from acting upon injustices (“take the anchors off our feet”).
The layered hooks of ‘Runaway’ contrast the need for escape and change while still wanting everything to stay the same, before the organ openings of ‘Free’ lead into a rippling track surrounding love and freedom. The collaboration with Celeste in ‘Gotham’ offers a quiet moment of contemplation via subdued vocals and murky instrumentals, while earlier released single, ‘NW3’ is a softly crafted track about finding love, with repeated hooks about finally ending up with ‘the one’.
Final track, ‘Build Me A Way’ finishes the album in a cyclical manner, with Bakar ending the album with the words “I’m on my way home”. Nobody’s Home feels like a coming-of-age record; it’s mature and introspective, traversing heavy explorations of relationships, depression, and the world we live in.