Christian music artist Bon Voyage wants to terrify you. At first glance, Julie Martin and her husband, Starflyer 59's Jason Martin are the sweetest, gentlest, kindest people you would ever want to meet, and their latest CD Lies, at first listen, is just a hopelessly catchy collection of indie pop/dance tracks.
Which it makes it all the more chilling when, on the opening song of the new album , Julie sings, I wish I was a monster. I would hide under the stairs. I wish I was a nightmare. I'd give you a scare. It is as if Bon Voyage are hiding something a bit more than just solid songs underneath the surface...
Like a Hitchcock film Julie and Jason Martin give ample fodder for your imagination to run wild. Backed by moving dance beats, samples, and layers of subtly creepy, yet catchy keys they will scare you with their cleverness and their subtlety. And they might just make you want dance in the process. Picture strobe lights and haze, moving shadows, bodies swaying to the soothing, hypnotizing sound of Julie's voice.
First time out, Bon Voyage was a dalliance -- a simple sterling side project for Starflyer 59's Jason Martin and his wife Julie, a chance to release a one-off 7" on Starflyer 59 bassist Jeff Cloud's Velvet Blue Music.
The second time, it was a challenge -- could the Jason Martin produce enough winning songs to fill a full-length Bon Voyage recording and not have it sound like a novelty? The result, 1998's sticky-sweet self-titled debut, was a kind of pop music taffy pull, a tart and tense collection of airy, amorous songs that laid Julie Martin's feather-light coo against Jason's jangling guitar.
The third time, four years later, The Right Amount was the arrival. Having shuffled off all perceptions of Bon Voyage as hobby or side project, Jason and Julie unveil ten more heavenly pop hits. Augmented by the deft and crafty synth work of Jason's brother Ronnie Martin (mastermind behind analogue synth group Joy Electric), The Right Amount soars and swoops majestically. The title track is gauzy and gorgeous, Julie's voice rising like mist above dense guitar and synth. "The Third Marie's" links and stalks like a spy theme, "All The Traps" is a somnambulent slack-key masterpiece and "The Telephone" is jubilant and jaunting, driven by a New Order guitar line and Julie's melancholic delivery.
Lies is Bon Voyage's follow-up to 2001's The Right Amount. Taking nothing away from their previous material--which is great in its own right--this is Bon Voyage at their most vibrant and most immediate. Perhaps the addition of programmer Mike Perez is the element that drives this material to the next level. Or perhaps it is Jason Martin's production prowess, which has grown leaps and bounds over the last several years after working with everyone from The Cold War Kids to Project 86 to several of his own projects, including Starflyer 59.
Whether you speak of the vampire-eque sway of tracks like "Monster" or the undeniable fashionability of cuts like "Birthday", Lies plays like forty minutes of commercial alternative programming. In "Don't Lie" , the mystique of Julie Martin's vocals will bring you to your knees in repentance, as you get the feeling she means what she says (as only a mother can convey) when she swoons, Don't you lie when you look me in the eyes. Scary...
Truly, Bon Voyage have mixed their bubbling cauldron of cuts to perfection this time around in this, their finest hour. Just don't ask the Martins to give you more than barely enough to arouse a frenzied fascination with their third installment. It's almost as if they planed it this way...to leave us all with nothing but a desire for more.
Listen to Bon Voyage Here
|Bon Voyage||1998||Tooth & Nail Records|
|Right Amount||2001||Tooth & Nail Records|
|Lies||2008||Tooth & Nail Records|