Bahamas Dishes Out Rock, Pop and Rhythm on ‘Sad Hunk’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

When one sees the band name Bahamas on an album, they could be forgiven for the confusion they may feel about what type of music it would be. However, the Canadian musician Afie Jurvanen has managed to use that alias to put out five albums to critical acclaim. His brand of singer-songwriter music incorporates many different genres including pop, R&B, rock, folk, soul, alternative, Caribbean and blues. Over the past twelve years, he has managed to garner multiple Junos, a 2018 Grammy nomination, a wealth of critical kudos, and a fan base that’s been building exponentially in the process. With the release of his sixth album, Sad Hunk, Jurvanen finds himself facing the fact that he has a lot to live up to. The album’s title is derived from a nickname given to him by his wife, supposedly based on the way he’s been portrayed in the press, and is a wealth of songs that are as engaging as they are enjoyable.

Though the title Sad Hunk may imply an album of sadness and downer songs, it is in fact very upbeat throughout. Bahama’s customary mix of rock, pop and rhythm that fans have enjoyed on past albums is here in spades on Sad Hunk. This is apparent from the opening track “Trick to Happy” with its crooning female chorus, R&B bass track, and Jurvanen finding himself confronting baseless fears singing, “Was it going on behind my back?/Is this the price for doing well?” The quick sliding picking on “Up With the Jones” brings to mind early era Paul Simon as Jurvanen tells a tale of living beyond your means, losing it all and being free. “Wisdom of the World” bookends downbeat verses with a Hendrix-style distorted guitar solo in the middle. Caribbean soul guitar movements interlaced with cuts of funky bass lines drive “Own Alone” where “Done Did Me No Good” pushes vocally in an admirable and stand-out presence.

Those looking for musicians to compare Bahamas to might look to either Dave Matthews or Jack Johnson for style. However, Jurvanen has shown over the past twelve years that he is perfectly capable of carving out his own niche in the world of singer/songwriters. Sad Hunk finds Jurvanen reaching for inspiration in domestic life and performs it with such a sense of sincerity and warmth that it becomes immediately relatable. 

 

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One Response

  1. Another touchstone would be the great solo work of Steely Dan’s Walter Becker on 11 Tracks of Whack and Circus Money.

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