As children, and I think I speak for everyone here, we were led to believe the threat of quicksand was a much more prominent dilemma than we face as adults. This notion that something so innocuous, something seemingly familiar, could swallow us up; especially if we were to resist it.
What we weren’t warned of (I have a letter into the administration of my elementary school on it) was the all-consuming, rich vibes of Afie Jurvanen, the singer/songwriter/guitar maestro, also known as Bahamas. The cooling blends of alt-folk, blues, pop, rock, R&B, and soul that make up the sound of Bahamas (band, not locale) have been laying gentle groundwork for an otherwise successful run for the last decade. From Barchords (2012) to the aptly-titled Bahamas is Afie (2014) through Earthtones (2018) Bahamas is poised for another release on October 9, 2020 via Brushfire, titled Sad Hunk.
In the realm of The Lumineers (album structure specifically), Bahamas has made a name in successful records with one or two pops of mainstream palatability (see: “OK Alright I’m Alive”, “Lost In The Light”, or “All the Time”). Sad Hunk firmly deviates this course by running away with a consistent blend of all things Bahamas greatness. Fans will be pleased to be brought back to the world of Juvanen’s warm tones and mindful songwriting, singing “too broke to feel so wealthy/too young to feel unhealthy/but I’m too old to understand that selfie/too far gone for you to help me” (“Own Alone”). Caribbean soul guitar movements interlaced with cuts of funky bass lines drive “Own Alone” where “Done Did Me No Good” pushes vocally in an admirable and stand-out presence. Island plucking gives way to acoustic whimsy in “Up With The Jones” and heavy beat/snap-led reflection drives “Wisdom Of The World”. A melodic assembly of all-consuming audible quicksand that will envelope your emotions while simultaneously delivering ample doses of cool, Sad Hunk deviates, albeit very slyly, the recipe found previously; but does so in such a way, and at such a time, this is one record that is sure to stive of repetition and/or becoming stale. I never thought I’d find such satisfaction in witnessing a Sad Hunk.
The success of Bahamas does not, in fact it never has, come in the form of explosive impressions and overtly tenacious hooks. Sad Hunk is no different. The success of Bahamas, and ultimately Sad Hunk lies in the brilliantly smooth ebbs and flows that warm you gently as you sink into the quicksand-like atmosphere so expertly crafted therein. Don’t resist Sad Hunk, let yourself slide into its world.