Nostalgia is a powerful tool. Just glance at music’s cyclical nature and you can see there’s money to be made in the reminiscence game.
Hak Baker is the latest in a growing group of musicians to give the mid-’00s indie sound a whirl. His debut album, World’s End FM, takes a chunk of Jamie T and Pete(r) Doherty’s cheeky chappy schtick and combines it with a thick glaze of scruffy pop sheen, resulting in a collection of songs that, while inoffensive enough, fails to truly tap into the spirit of the decade’s best offerings.
The slightly-too-earnest air surrounding ‘Bricks in the Wall’ and ‘Run’ exudes serious T4 on the Beach, trilby hat energy, doing nothing more than remind us that, despite how it might have seemed at the time, a lot of music back in the ’00s really wasn’t all that.
It’s a shame, as at times Baker hints at an enticing, more aggressive edge. The pointed, Mike Skinner-isms of opener ‘DOOLALLY (Unreleased)’ and the angular rock of ‘Telephones 4 Eyes’ offer a brief window to what he is capable of, but these darker moments are few and far between, for the most part Baker falls back on that signature indie pop sound that threatens to deceive.
With Worlds End FM, Hak Baker shows once and for all that, as enticing as nostalgia might be, things never sound quite as good the second time around. The reality of the past is rarely as good as the concept.