Release Date: Aug 19, 2014
Record label: Island
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Indie Folk
The title Bahamas Is Afie tells you everything you need to know about Afie Jurvanen: he's honest, direct and has a sly sense of humour. The Toronto musician's third album serves as a self-titled effort of sorts, and it's a work that's worthy of Jurvanen's name scrawled alongside his moniker. The album's 12 tracks bear the hallmarks of Jurvanen's distinct style — skilfully airtight guitar work breezing across laid-back tempos as Jurvanen lures you in with his blissful coos.
Bahamas has always been mostly Afie Jurvanen, but he makes that much more apparent on his third album, and not just in the title. The delicate country-soul songs feel even more personal than previous outings, and Jurvanen plays most of the instruments. The folky acoustic textures are closer to the foreground this time around, but there are still plenty of artfully arranged instrumental embellishments and creative use of audio effects.
Bahamas' third studio album, 2014's Bahamas Is Afie, finds lead singer/songwriter Afie Jurvanen once again guiding his folk-inflected Canadian indie outfit through a handful of his own introspective yet melodically enticing songs. Produced by Jurvanen with help from Robbie Lackritz (who produced 2012's Barchords), Bahamas Is Afie is a measured, organic album largely centered around Jurvanen's burnished, laconically soulful voice. Jurvanen, with his penchant for yearning, rootsy songs full of twangy guitars and poignant lyrics, often brings to mind both Canadian singer/songwriter Ron Sexsmith and American Blue Note artist Amos Lee.
BahamasBahamas Is AfieBrushfire Records4 stars out of 5 Bahamas is the alias of Afie Jurvanen, and his third album is called Bahamas Is Afie. That part is pretty self-explanatory. The connection between the Canadian folky and the Caribbean island chain is a little less so, but there’s no complaining about the results. Bahamas Is Afie is a triumph in soulful, roots music, and instead of just trying to sound old-timey, the record is full of personality.
Bahamas is an apt moniker for solo artist Afie Jurvanen, who weaves breezy, tropical melodies in his cold-climate Canadian home. After playing guitar in the touring bands of artists like Leslie Feist, Jurvanen decided to strike out on his own, crafting a sound that’s hard to pin down — part smooth jams, part psychedelic rock, part adult contemporary, and part folksy campfire. Whatever trope he’s employing at any given moment, he’s always in control, methodically coaxing different pieces of his melodies as though he’s wooing a shy girl in the most cerebral, systematic way possible.
In a touching recent promotional video, Bahamas (aka Afie Jurvanen) drives around his hometown of Toronto with his best friend and plays him a copy of his newest album, Bahamas Is Afie, for the first time. Eventually, the two settle at a booth in a restaurant and discuss the fact that sometimes it’s easier to write music from a place of discomfort than a place of comfort. “I think it’s harder to be honest about [writing] if you’re happy,” Jurvanen says.