The Raw Vitality of Bakar’s ‘Halo’

September 28, 2023

There’s an unrelenting honesty at the core of Bakar’s music that makes it so essential. Lots of artists claim to “tell it like it is,” but he pushes it to extremes, pairing his gift for heart-on-your-sleeve lyricism against production that seems carefully crafted to tell it like he wishes it were. On his best cuts, like the standout “Alive!” and his breakout single “Hell N Back” which gets a new mix on Halo, that juxtaposition turns his music into a balm. Halo is the kind of record you want to lose yourself in.

Full of melancholy vocals against a backdrop of uptempo guitar and drums, the album often manages to capture the magic of classic dreampop while sounding all his own. The downtempo vibe of “Selling Biscuits” betrays the truth behind his justifications. When he sings “Selling biscuits to all these rich kids/Same old habits ‘cos we’re all misfits” it’s half call to get yours as an act of rebellion, and half resignation to the fact that some shit never changes. As it moves into the centerpiece duo of “I’m Done” and “Right Here, For Now,” Bakar pulls off selling a lack of confidence with some of the album’s most confident songwriting.

Defiantly uncategorizable, there’s shades of The Cure at the height of their powers throughout Halo; in the sense that the album acts as proof positive that genres don’t matter at all anyway. Bakar’s managed to capture the loneliness, disconnection, and dehumanization of the moment with a set of songs that are focused, inviting, and deeply human. At a moment when far too many new releases have little to offer beyond branding, throughout Halo, Bakar offers connection. It’s vital in all the ways that matter.

Says Bakar of the new record “I think the only responsibility I have is to be honest about what’s going on, within me and around me. I get messages from people about how certain songs helped them and got them through tough times or even in the most extreme cases walked them off a ledge, so I’m really glad to be able to offer that service.”

Follow Bakar on socials @bakarrrr for tourdates and more, and grab your copy of Halo here: