Monday, June 29, 2009

Reviews:: Bahamas Pink Strat

When you watch a film, it's not often you focus on the subtle character that hovers off the main plot line. I'm not talking about a slapstick cameo or the drunken asshole that is presented to ease tension and provide cheap laughs. No, I'm talking about perfectly uttered dialog or concise, pure emotion that allows the stars to run with the scene. Afie Jurvanen – aka Bahamas – spent years providing backing support for some of the biggest names in Canadian rock (Feist, Jason Collett, Howie Beck, Hayden and my new favorites, Zeus) without demanding any of his own shine and was more than happy to bolster their sound.

But with the upcoming release of his debut solo LP, that’s should change. Pink Strat plays to the lonely life of a traveling musician and a world where sometimes your only friend is the guitar that lets you hammer through your pain and passion without judgment or opinion. The plaintive strums that start Lonely Loves showcase Afie’s broken heart, but it's the delicate touch of his fingers up and down the neck of his guitar that show us all who his one true love really is.

Guitar skill aside, Jurvanen presents his thoughts in such an honest way that you can't help but pay attention. Obviously, Afie’s had his heart broken a few times and the songs show exposes his fragility and as confident as Jurvanen is musically, Pink Strat shows he’s equally unconfident in true love. It’s not a new story – he’s a mess and probably no good for you or anyone else - but instead of over thought phrases turned over and over again until they become too perfect, Afie delivers simple couplets that hit harder than you’d expect. Much like East Coast hero Al Tuck, Jurvanen’s straightforward lines (his delivery on the delightfully uptempo Already Yours for example) make his confessional something personal and treasured, instead of another guitar player whining about the one that got away.

Without question, Afie’s songwriting falls in line with the peers he’s played with – especially Collett on Hockey Teeth and What’s Worse - but I think this just shows why so many talented people want him in their band. Almost every track could find a home on someone else's record, but the intricate, well placed guitar flourishes and the rough edge of Afie’s voice make his songs distinct. Years of playing understated notes that momentarily grab the spotlight before returning to the background helps him keep an even keel, and he knows how important making a point quickly and powerfully is for a musician.

Pink Strat ends as surprisingly and strongly as it begins. Throwing the listener a change-up, Afie pours his heart into a fantastic take of Wreckless Eric’s two-chord classic, Whole Wide World. Jurvanen beefs up the snotty song by giving it a more tropical feel, but it’s the message he ends the album with that he wants you to remember; he’d travel to the end of the earth to meet his true love. The simple two-minute closer shows that even after 11 songs worth of heartache and pain and no matter how broken he might be, Afie wants things to work out and that little bit of hope is exactly what makes this artist so much like all of us. It’s also shows that Afie Jurvanen deserves to stand along side of the great artists he’s spent year supporting.

MP3:: Bahamas - Lonely Loves


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Posted at 8:30 AM by ack :: 4 comments

add to facebook add to Digg this Googlize this post add to Yahoo

At 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous did sayeth:

it's Afie, not Alfie. oops. and yes, he rules.


At 10:39 AM, Blogger ack did sayeth:

ha.. yes. yes it is. Typos are grrrrrrreat


At 3:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous did sayeth:

What is wrong with the blog posts? they show a javascript in the title tag.


At 3:28 PM, Blogger ack did sayeth:

Yeah, I have no idea. I even tried to repost it.... I don't think it impacts the post though.. who knows.


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