Review: Bahamas – Sad Hunk
Local Music Reviews
Bahamas = Cotton Jones + Jack Johnson
The funk is alive and well in Sad Hunk, along with the folk roots that the Canada-based musician Bahamas—also known as Afie Jurvanen—has always had. This is Bahamas’ fifth album release and marks over 10 years of him having released music. What I love about artists who release albums throughout the years is seeing growth in their own sound. Pink Strat, Bahamas’ first album, almost sounds nothing like what you can find on Sad Hunk. It seems as though Bahamas couldn’t shake off the ’70s funk vibe from his last release, Earthtones, and there’s no complaints here.
There may be 10 tracks on Sad Hunk, but it sure doesn’t feel like it. The reason being that most tracks sit around two minutes which makes the album end as quickly as you started it. A slick and groovy guitar tune starts us off on “Trick To Happy,” which melts into a soft, funky beat, although the guitar comes back in and out within the song. There’s a small hint of psychedelia in the guitar solo in “Own Alone,” but it isn’t enough to fully cross the line into the genre. “I’m on my own / But I’m not alone,” Jurvanen sings. What’s consistent about Bahamas is the relatability of his words, especially in the time we’re in right now.
What’s a Bahamas album if there aren’t tracks about love? “Less Than Love” is a sweet ballad in what seems to be an ode to his wife and children. Singing about not wanting to be confined, struggling or causing stress for them shows how vulnerable he can be and how much he cares about them. Felicity Williams’ background vocals add a comforting touch with her gentle woes. “Half Your Love” is calm. It’s simple, and there’s nothing wrong with simplicity. It gets the message across of wanting someone to love you without having to go to lengths to get it.
“Done Did Me No Good” is my favorite track on Sad Hunk. There’s something freeing about it. The beat is fun! It makes you want to dance. It’s the track that spoke to me the most. What is making fun of yourself and doubting going to do for you? “If you think that I got it all figured out / It’s just another way to hide my doubt.” Bahamas does a good job pointing out the things that don’t do him any good and keeping the song as happy as possible. If you want more folk tunes, the tracks “Up With The Jones,” “Not Cool Anymore,” “Can’t Complain” and “Fair Share” touch on it. Each song has its own message, and each is just as catchy as the next. Bahamas knows how to put a song together, lyrically and beat-wise.
One thing that I noticed is that in the album Pink Strat, the last track is called “Whole Wide World” while the last track on Sad Hunk is “Wisdom Of The World.” It may not have been intentional, but it’s interesting to see how past work can correlate with present work. There’s a gradual buildup with the vocals and guitar in this new track before it breaks out into one last guttural guitar solo that simmers into an uplifting mellow tune while Bahamas croons that everything is about forgiveness.
Despite the album being called Sad Hunk, I didn’t feel one inch of sadness listening to it. I always tell myself that music comes when it needs to be heard, and Sad Hunk came at the perfect time. It is eye-opening and introspective for both the listener and Bahamas himself. It’s a good soundtrack for the upcoming chilly fall nights or a drive through the canyon. Overall, the album is a great mixture of Bahamas’ growth and has the right amount of folk-funk vibes. –Kimberly Portillo