Whenever I find myself emotionally deep in the cheap seats, I often turn to my favorite artists for the inspiration I need to move forward. For most of my years spent in the South, this support usually came from the likes of Johnny Cash and Ryan Adams, whose heartfelt lyrics could transport me out whatever rut I had settled in.
A few years ago, when I stumbled upon Bahamas, Canadian musician Afie Jurvanen’s musical project, I discovered yet another way to temporarily escape difficult times. Jurvanen’s smooth vocals, simplistic guitar rhythms, and cheery, indie folk meditations on love, sunshine, and friends make me endlessly happy. And, the sounds of his newest album Bahamas is Afie are no exception.
Different from his first record, Barchords, which was centered around his longing for a lost love, Bahamas is Afie is a much more upbeat compilation. One can’t help but listen to finger-tapping songs like “Stronger Than That,” with a crooked smile, all while recalling fond memories of friends and loved ones. Even tracks like “Waves,” a vocally focused piece, lifts spirits with its transient melody.
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The album, moreover, displays Jurvanen’s musical diversity with “All The Time,” a psychedelic tune, with strong gut-deflating guitar riffs, and some simple synth, that definitely marks a transition from slower paced, and contemplative songs, which certainly dominated his second record.
Jurvanen’s attempt at wooing the audience with sad, yet upbeat pieces is a sure success, as I find myself completely in love, toward the end of the album, with many of his personal muses on life. But, of course, the compilation is definitely not going to be appealing for all audiences. The folksy, love-dovey nature of the album is palpable and may seem appropriate for more solemn occasions.
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All that being said, I think that this kind of simplistic, reflective music can also be remarkably refreshing and beautiful. If you’re a fan of some not-so-Keith-Urban country and are looking for tunes with deeper lyrics, or even just something to study with, this album is absolutely worth listening to.
Voice’s Choice: “All The Time,” “Stronger Than That”