Bahamas – Pink Strat
July 27, 2009
What It Sounds Like: Withdrawn dude with a guitar playing chill acoustic songs at 11:30PM on the Lido Deck of a cruise ship bound for some exotic location. He’s not trying to depress on you on your vacation, but he is kinda sad.
Afie Jurvanen, aka Bahamas, delivered his debut record to us in 2009, though he has just now started making waves in the United States with the release of his second album, Barchords, and its single, Caught Me Thinking.
Pink Strat is a fairly middle of the road guy-and-his-guitar-record; musically, it’s better than average. When push comes to shove through, a large majority of these songs are neither groundbreaking, nor are they overly memorable. What they are, however, are two to three minute homages to various forms of that persistent rascal – love. With simple melodies and non-complicated arrangements, the lyrics need to really shine through in order to be a serious contender here, and sadly, they do not. Afie has a great voice, and his music is actually well written. These songs all sonically belong together on the same project, and they have enough ideas to keep things interesting, from the lost piano ballad of What’s Worse to the southern, reserved acoustic pop of Hockey Teeth.
But these lyrics. At a glance, they’re not bad. They have some nice lines that take us in all different directions on the spectrum of love. However, full readings show us complete lyrical makeups that suffer from executing the point that they are trying to make. Why does the couple’s love die in You’re Bored, I’m Old? Already Yours sounds sweet on the surface, but read the lyrics. It doesn’t fit on a breakup record, and it doesn’t fit on a wedding mix. I don’t even think it fits somewhere in the middle, because – what emotion is he trying to even convey?
The slightly jazz-influenced Try, Tried, Trying is the record’s high point, a slow jam that shows us some sweet guitar work while capturing a moment in time of the love a couple shares, even though Afie knows it’s doomed. Hey, he’s just doing the best he can with what he has. Can you even ask for me? Um, yeah, I think you can, cause it’s followed up by Till The Morning, which lyrically again, suffers greatly. It’s a shame, because the music is chill and wonderful, but it’s just not backed up with any lyrical strength. We just need something better than Call me please, call me please / I can’t wait forever / You know better / So call me please. That’s the extent of it. Some may argue that music like this doesn’t need the perfect lyrics – it’s about the ambiance rather the depth. I’ll give you that, but I’m still not satisfied.
It bears repeating though – the music is pretty solid.
If you had to listen to two tracks: Hockey Teeth / Try, Tried, Tryin’