Album Review: Bahamas – Bahamas is Afie

Bahamas’ newest release, Bahamas is Afie, may be the closest that any album has ever gotten to actual seduction. I could feel myself melting from the first note of opening track “Waves” and suddenly I found myself swooning over every melody and gentle lilt of Afie Jurvanen’s voice. I fell in love.

While Bahamas is Afie sounds like it was conceived on a beach somewhere, it was actually written in Jurvanen’s hometown of Toronto. Jurvanen recorded every part of the album almost completely by himself, calling in friends occasionally to cover some instruments. “I feel like I’m starting to get what it’s all about,” says Jurvanen. “I’m feeling a lot more relaxed and comfortable with where I’m at, and I think that’s reflected in the music.” I definitely agree.

While tracks drift between different genres, Jurvanen makes it feel and sound effortless. “Can’t Take You With Me” is a wonderfully simple track that clearly pays homage to Nick Drake with the smooth guitars and soft swell of strings at just the right moments. The track is masterfully manipulated so that the small glimpses of these influences are interwoven with Jurvanen’s own easygoing sound. “Stronger than That” takes its cues from classic rock with its rambling guitars and overall feel good rhythm. I can’t help but rock my body to the beat as I listen to it now.

“All the Time” mixes distorted guitars with a bit of soul creating one of the best tracks on the album.  The falsetto harmonies add a TV on the Radio feel to the song. It’s a great example of the fact that you don’t need to over-produce a track to make it a great one. And while Jurvanen typically downplays his guitar skills in the studio, the track ends with him just shredding away.

The album’s closer is my favorite track on the album (surprise, it’s the slowest and probably most depressing). “All I’ve Ever Known” plays quietly, the guitar and strings swelling at the most poignant moments lyrically. “Once you found your thrill / You move in for the kill / I chase you up the hill and all through time / And now my memory seems to be failing me / What once was fantasy is all I’ve ever known”. Even without many flourishes to his vocals, you can still hear so much emotion as Jurvanen sings this track. Like the rest of the album, it’s the simplicity that keeps me coming back for more.

Bahamas is Afie may just be my favorite album of the summer and will probably hold a top spot in my favorite albums of the year. It never fails, the last track ends and I immediately go right back to the beginning to fall in love all over again.

You can get the album on Amazon and iTunes.