In September this year, Toronto-based Afie Jurvanen (aka Bahamas) released his third solo album under the Brushfire Records label. Listening to the differences between Pink Strat, Jurvanen's first solo album, and Bahamas Is Afie, there's a much more confident and expressive sound on his most recent release.
Jurvanen is not a stranger to the Toronto music scene. He's played with Feist, Jason Collett, Jack Johnson, and Zeus, to name a few. On this 12-track release, Bahamas has vulnerability and clarity in his sound. His Harmony Stratotone has a voice of it's own on this album. It's almost like Afie, the other vocalists on the album, and his guitar are all singing together in fantastic opposition and harmony. From the first track on the album, "Waves", you know you're about to listen to something special. The sparse sound that begins the album quickly fills out into a beautifully layered chorus. And then following the chorus, the smooth and strong Strat comes in to follow-up Afie's vocals with a new voice in the song. It commands your attention.
Track-by-track, this album is unique and diverse - whether it's a buttery smooth ballad, such as "Can't Take You With Me", or the lazy and lilt-laden "All the Time" (which again, features the Strat like another singer), or songs like "Stronger Than That", which are more standard in form and rhythm, but played with intention that is completely enthralling. In my books, Bahamas Is Afie is one of the best albums of 2014. If you have a chance to see Bahamas live, don't miss it. And in the meantime, check out his albums on Spotify and head to iTunes to pick up this brilliant record. It's easy to listen to, but challenges musical structures on every track without being pretentious.
Toronto has a fast-growing music scene that's continuing to be recognized. Support this artist - you won't regret it!