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. Which isn't to say that Jurvanen doesn't have his own, beautifully layered, longing pop sound. On the contrary, cuts like the opening "Waves," with its jazzy strummed guitar and languid, summer-sad melody, and "Stronger Than That," with its soulful guitar lines and gospel-tinged backing vocals, are immediately memorable songs that get to the root of what makes Bahamas' sound so engaging. Elsewhere, Jurvanen delves into several bittersweet acoustic numbers ("Can't Take You with Me," "Nothing to Me Now"), as well as a few '70s soft country-sounding songs ("Half Mine," "Little Record Girl"). Along with superbly crafted material, Jurvanen often dresses his songs with light horn and string adornments that complement his more direct country and rock sensibilities. There is a warmth, joyfulness, and sly humor to Bahamas' sound here that keeps you listening even when Jurvanen turns toward melancholy sentiments, as he often does. Ultimately, it's that juxtaposition of front-porch balladry, lyrical intimacy, and urbane studio savvy that makes Bahamas Is Afie so unforgettable. As Jurvanen opines on "All the Time," "I got all the time in the world/Don't you want some of that?"
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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar