By Marie Kolzow, Jam Band Director
Ontario-based Bahamas, also known as Afie Jurvanen, released 11-track LP “Earthtones” on Jan. 19, the first LP released in four years.
Bahamas has opened for acts like Jack Johnson, The Lumineers, and Wilco. Their last album, “Bahamas is Afie,” brought hits like “All The Time” and “Stronger Than That.” With a growing fan base, Bahamas’ “Earthtones” features catchy new tracks like “Everything To Everyone” while still staying true to Bahamas’ recognizable, dazy sound.
The album features Pino Palladino and James Gadson of D’Angelo on the rhythm section, which is evident with the rhythmic bass lines in the standout track “No Expectations.” What may come as a surprising track to those familiar with Bahamas, “Bad Boys Need Love Too” incorporates lower vocals and even rapping, adding to the R&B influences on the album.
“Earthtones” especially seems to blend deep grooves and a pinch of laid back surf rock on tracks like “Show Me Naomi” and “Way With Words.” The album makes its soulful aspects most apparent with doo-wop influences on “Opening Act (The Shooby Dooby Song).” The opening track “Alone” takes listeners on an introspective journey with deeper vocals and a harmonious, climactic ending. The song’s natural flow through vocal ranges imitates everyday life experiences, which seem to be an inspiration for Jurvanen’s songwriting. “Earthtones” addresses somber topics such as clinical depression, in “No Depression,” whilst remaining intimate and warm in tone.
Bahamas’ alternating sound shows Jurvanen’s growing dynamic as an artist and through showcasing a variety of different genres, “Earthtones” is enjoyable no matter the mood or occasion.