I don’t know if Afie Jurvanen is a suave guy but he certainly sounds that way on album. Jurvanen, who goes by the moniker Bahamas, creates music that radiates a laidback coolness. The Toronto-based musician (who spent several years playing in Feist’s band) blends together blue-eyed soul, home-crafted indie rock, and ‘60s rock – and then gives it all a dose of echo to create something always interesting and often captivating.
His new album, Barchords, was released in early February and I didn’t want too much time to go by without recognizing it. The disc boasts two tracks that are HARD TOO RESIST. “Caught Me Thinking” skips along on a Vampire Weekend-like riff but Jurvanen stocks in more hooks to fuel this bedroom vocals. “Okay Alright I’m Alive” builds a little more slowly but when it comes to the chorus it just pulls you in and never lets you go. “Every time the phone rings/I run/Every time George sings “here comes the sun” – just rolls gently out of his mouth and finds a home into your memory.
Jurvanen also references Sam Cooke in the song and there is a sort of deconstructed soul vibe here that isn’t so deconstructed, however, that the music loses its slinkiness. His slowed-down, staccato soul sound surfaces in a track like “Your Sweet Touch,” which also includes a George Harrison-like guitar line that builds into a ragged but blistering solo. Another memorable tune is the lead-off track “Lost In The Light,” a dance number done with Jurvanen’s signature deliberate pace, stands out as a seductive charmer with a hint of Dylan’s “Just Like A Woman” nestled in there somewhere. “Any Other Way,” a little odd ditty about pregnancy and parenthood, also makes a mark recalling something that Nilsson might have done.
However, overall, Jurvanen – as Bahamas – establishes a warm, soul-drenched mood that thoroughly wins over the listener with its easy-going but hooky melodies and subtly alluring arrangements. Don’t let this album slip past you.
Here’s a link to “Lost In The Light” and the making of Barchords: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=lMDTfcoESfg