On first impression it would seem from the cover of Bahamas (Afie Jurvanen) fifth record Sad Hunk is an obvious case of false advertising. The goofy late ‘80s/early ‘90s school pic vibe, and the Fast Times At Ridgemont font for the title belies the mellow, occasionally melancholy vibe of the songs. But as anyone who’s listened to his music in the past knows, inside the placid acoustic strum and laconic delivery, Jurvanen has a knack for writing deceptively sharp, witty lyrics.
Sad Hunk is very much in vein of his earlier efforts. The comparisons to fellow laid back crooner Jack Johnson (whose label has put out Bahamas’ records going back to 2009’s fantastic debut, Pink Strat) are fair to a degree, but he is far from just being a Canadian version of Johnson, mixing in elements of funk, folk and even a little 1990s alt/college rock to his sound.
Themes are domesticity and growing older are all over this record, especially on tracks like “Up With the Joneses” and “Not Cool Anymore”. Much like 2018’s Earthtones, Sad Hunk shows a slight evolution in his style, mainly by adding in influences from various genres, but he still manages to anchor enough of the music to elements, like solidly sweet harmonies that fans have come to rely in. Songs like the deeply satisfying “Half Your Love,” and “Up With the Joneses” – part dejected, part sanguine – are quintessential Bahamas songs and could fit easily on any of his previous albums.