SCQ Rating: 83%
“Lost In the Light”, the slowburning opening track to Afie Jurvanen’s sophomore outing as Bahamas, wasn’t only written last – at the close of the recording sessions that would produce Barchords – but was nearly held back for some unforeseen release down the road. That piece of trivia may sound worthless to some people, but those are people who likely haven’t heard “Lost In the Light” yet. Frankly, the song’s a game-changer; the sort of profile-raising, singer-songwriter gem that transcends “indie” by digging its heels into a bluesy nerve that borders on some slow-waltzing gospel. And luckily for those of us “in the know”, it’s but the first track on a record brimming with beauties.
A buoyant sense of variety gets roped in by Jurvanen’s smooth croon, which calms the surf-rock tinged spikiness of “Caught Me Thinking” and soaks up emotion on the haunting ballad “Never Again”. In fact his delivery almost makes for easy dismissal on account of just how smooth it sounds, calling to mind the laid-back meanderings of Jack Johnson or Jason Mraz. A few dedicated listens will open a whole new understanding of Bahamas, however; one likened far more to Neil Young than Jack Johnson. Classic acoustic songwriting and tasteful musicianship stand hand-in-hand on the subtle stomp of “Be My Witness”, the electric licks punctuating “Your Sweet Touch” and the rustic swoon of “Time and Time Again”. Barring the sparse, demo-styled grays of “Any Other Way” and “Montreal”, it’s difficult to envisage a better album to usher us into spring than Barchords, an album light in touch but deceptively resonant in human emotion.