Barchords is a crushing album about the fallout of a failed relationship – exactly the kind of thing that can feel deeply personal and universal at the same time. But it’s not exactly a revolutionary concept for an album. What makes this one stand out is the singular personality that is Bahamas (aka Afie Jurvanen). His unique guitar playing, at once minimalist and mesmerizing, and his breezy but pointed vocals give these songs weight.
It goes through everything that comes with a breakup – the loss, the desperation, the survival and sometimes even the joy. Jurvanen sings the songs to life, with the world-weariness of a much older man and just a hint of a wry smile. Opener ‘Lost in the Light’ is perhaps the best example of what Bahamas does best – a slow, steady rhythm, a guitar line that sounds just a bit off-kilter, and lyrics that duck and dodge before punching you square in the face. ‘Okay, Alright, I’m Alive’ is another prime example, with the lyric, “I’m happier on my own / and that’s fine with you.”
Sad pop songs are always relatable, but something about Bahamas makes them doubly so. The pace and the moods change throughout Barchords, but it feels like a consistent piece and a fully realized project from start to finish. It’s a gem of an album, and a portrait of an artist set to do great things.