"Earthtones"

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By ​Phil ​Bennett

Canadian guitarist/singer/songwriter Afire Jurvanen’s fourth release under his Bahamas moniker is a much funkier affair than previously as he adds a more rhythmic dimension to his sun-kissed retro pop.

The delights are a plenty and they’re on display as soon as the needle hits the groove.

Opening track, Alone, is a great choice to begin the album, with its sparse piano echo and disembodied vocal harmonies guaranteeing to prick up your ears.

Show Me Naomi is a slick, funk workout that features some brilliantly quirky guitar twiddles, while Everything To Everyone drifts on a summer breeze somewhere between pastoral folk and inner city soul.

The highlight, though, is the slinky, dark Bad Boys Need Love Too, an unrelenting blend of grunting rap, gritty guitar, and hypnoticfemale backing vocals to soften its granite groove.

Lyrically, his songs explore the rocky terrain of relationships, parenthood and depression, among other things, and his way with words is simple but thoughtfully direct.

And his delivery, which makes more than a passing nod to Jack Johnson, is relaxed and welcoming, making for an easy listen indeed.

The sound of summer sun on closed eyelids, the grooves are soulful but laid back, slipping along with finger snaps rather than dance moves and hand claps.

A cool charmer.

​Phil ​Bennett

Musician, actor, singer, music reviewer, Phil’s interests cover a lot of bases and this is reflected in the music he writes about. From blues to soul, ambient to electronic, Phil writes about artists he feels are interesting, true to their craft and worthy of your ears.