REVIEWS | FEATURES | DEPARTMENTS | BOOMBOX | PODCAST | MISC
SEARCH:
splendid > reviews > 1/16/2003
Bon Voyage
Bon Voyage
The Right Amount
Tooth and Nail


Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "Never Come Back"

Buy me now
There have been a lot of strong husband-and-wife pop acts over the years: Paul and Linda in Wings, Karen and that Carpenter fella in the Carpenters, every configuration of male and female members of ABBA, and so forth. Now Jason and Julie Martin, the happy couple behind Bon Voyage, make a case for some of the spousal pop spotlight with the The Right Amount.

You may know Jason Martin better as the songwriting force behind prolific dream-pop act Starflyer 59. Here he has shifted gears somewhat, as he and his wife have crafted ten lush, glittery but significantly less dense pop gems. As with Starflyer 59, Jason handles the lion's share of the instrumental work. But this is not just a husband-and-wife affair -- Jason's brother Ronnie contributes a boatload of synthesizer that is instrumental to the band's overall sound. The only non-family contributor is bassist Travis Zimmerman.

The result is light, hooky pop, somewhere between Slowdive and The Primitives. "Never Coming Back" strolls in with a decidedly swank vibrato guitar lead that suggests The Smiths' Johnny Marr, Haircut 100 or other classic Britpop fare. Julie Martin's coy vocals are breathy and light, and sound particularly fetching clad in a sheen of reverb, as in "The Third Marie". Julie's lyrics may not keep you up at night grappling with their genius, but her earnest delivery on songs like "The Telephone" -- which, incidentally, relies on the same guitar progression as Wilco's "How to Fight Loneliness" -- will keep you from rolling your eyes or simply discounting the group altogether.

Jason Martin's combination of simple electronics and clean guitars, paired with neo-retro synths and plunky bass, tips its hat to '80s pop in a much more convincing way than some of the current spate of acts paying tribute to that decade by embracing electroclash. Martin deftly uses simple programmed percussion to drive his compositions along -- particularly in "Dressed in White", which boasts Depeche Mode-styled beats accented by more Marr-esque guitar. The stuttering beat in "On Your Side" lands on the other end of the spectrum, incorporating a hint of glitch and IDM.

All of the Martins are clearly old enough to remember the genuine musical articles, and intelligent enough to craft a record that suggests vintage pop rather than co-opts it. The Right Amount will not grab you on the first listen, but you'll be surprised at how satisfying you can find a straight-ahead pop record when it's done this well.



REVIEWS:

12/31/2005:
Ladytron

Brian Cherney

Tomas Korber

UHF

The Rude Staircase

Dian Diaz

12/30/2005:
Helloween

PTI

The Crimes of Ambition

Karl Blau

Rosetta

Gary Noland

12/29/2005:
Tommy and The Terrors

Blacklisted

Bound Stems

Gary Noland

Carlo Actis Dato and Baldo Martinez

Quatuor Bozzoni

12/28/2005:
The Positions

Comet Gain

Breadfoot featuring Anna Phoebe

Secret Mommy

The Advantage

For a Decade of Sin: 11 Years of Bloodshot Records

12/27/2005:
The Slow Poisoner

Alan Sondheim & Ritual All 770

Davenport

Beaumont

Five Corners Jazz Quintet

Cameron McGill

Drunk With Joy

12/26/2005:
10 Ft. Ganja Plant

The Hospitals

Ross Beach

Big Star

The Goslings

Lair of the Minotaur

Koji Asano



Splendid looks great in Firefox. See for yourself.
Get Firefox!


FEATURES:
Grizzly Bear's Ed Droste probably didn't even know that he'd be the subject of Jennifer Kelly's final Splendid interview... but he is!



DEPARTMENTS:
That Damn List Thing
& - The World Beyond Your Stereo
Bookshelf
Pointless Questions
File Under
Pointless Questions
& - The World Beyond Your Stereo


ARCHIVE:
Read reviews from the last 30, 60, 90 or 120 days, or search our review archive.

It's back! Splendid's daily e-mail update will keep you up to date on our latest reviews and articles. Subscribe now!
Your e-mail address:    
REVIEWS | FEATURES | DEPARTMENTS | BOOMBOX | PODCAST | MISC
SEARCH:
All content ©1996 - 2011 Splendid WebMedia. Content may not be reproduced without the publisher's permission.