Afie Jurvanan, aka Bahamas, mastermind of the eponymous project that experienced a hugely successful hit in 2014 with the song "All The Time" on the indie-folk album Afie Is Bahamas, opens a new gospel- and R&B-based chapter with its new fourth album, Earthtones. The weighty foundation of the new pop-close album, for which songs are written by Afie Jurvanan, is in the true sense of the word in the hands of the rhythm section, which is prominently populated by James Gadson and Pino Palladino. The star cast of Earthtones, whose remaining musicians are no less competent to the point, is rounded out by Felicity Williams whose succinct vocals persistently shape some of the songs, such as "Opening Act (The Shooby Dooby Song)", and "No Expectations", a song in which she demonstrates her chameleon-like adaptability to different styles of singing and to the pace of accompanying instruments.
Relative to each other delayed guitar grooves breaking out left and right from the sound stage in the opening song "Alone" increase the expectation of what is coming. What comes next is not a bombastic bass performance as is expected, but relatively lyrically presented lyrics supported by the background choir in the manner of a gospel. At the end of the song, the initially expected beat announces itself. This is cleverly devised by Afie Jurvanan and congenially executed by the Bahamas Band.
"Show Me Naomi" comes along playfully funky driven by guitar grooves. As on all other songs, the gospel background choir plays a major role, as also in the previous song "No Wrong" which proves to be a cleverly composed ballad that has the makings of a hit. No less bound to be a hit is the funky song "Bad Boys Need Love Too", whose guitar-based rap song invites you to join the hum. To the heart goes the lyrics of "Everything to Everyone", which according to Afie Jurvanan is taken from his own wealth of experience.
"So Free" turns out to be a great playground for the rhythm section with James Gadson and Pino Palladino. Carried by a gentle baritone voice the lullaby "Any Place" Bahamas says goodbye in the best jazz fashion up to the next album of Afie Jurvanan's project which again and again is good for surprises. Until then, Earthtones, especially in the outstanding sound of the high-resolution download announces the ingenuity and vocal competence of his songwriter and the high-class professional standard of all musicians involved in Earthtones.