Jason Martin from Starflyer 59 and his wife Julie started Bön Voyage by just recording a few singles, but were then encouraged by others to keep recording and to play some live shows. The present self-titled album is the result of good advice taken. Foreshadowed by the past singles put out on vinyl, the current album has turned out to be no other than a gorgeous pop album full of catchy melodies and choruses.
“Honeymoon,” the first track, starts off with Jason’s distortion that is well known to Starflyer fans, but the soft, deep voice of Martin is nowhere to be heard. Instead, his wife Julie displays a sweet, innocent (but not too innocent) voice that may give any male a whirl in the stomach.
If you are annoyed by a very youthful, high voice, this album is fingernails on the chalkboard. However, her beautiful voice blends perfectly over the poppy riffs by Jason and the eerie keyboard courtesy of Gene Eugene.
During “Honeymoon,” you may find yourself bobbing your head and singing along with “I’ll take you out if you love me.” The second song, “Kiss My Lips,” is definitely a little more “mature” and has caused some Christian music stores to pull the album from the shelves. Of course, she is only singing a love song to her husband, but the lyrics, “Love me like I want you to/Keep me up all night,” are probably going to be frowned upon by conservative Christians. I just hope someday my wife will be singing those same words to me.
The third track, “West Coast Friendship,” may leave you wondering how many of these spacey riffs are left over from past Starflyer albums. It seems like Jason has a plethora of them. “Why Can’t You Be” is another poppy tune about relationships that could not be sung any better by Mrs. Martin. The album reaches a soothing surf mood that resembles The Ventures crossed with Portishead.
“You’re Wonderful” is a song you could play in dead of winter and feel as if you were laying in the sand during a southern California sunset. Tracks 6 through 8 are again those catchy tunes done best by Jason Martin, whether playing for Starflyer, Bön Voyage, or Pony Express for that matter (although he plays drums for Pony Express). “Together” is more of a cozy, personal acoustic song with keyboards that sound like John Lennon was playing them. The song is only a minute and a half, but leaves you feeling good. The final song has ‘Til Tuesday written all over it, with the 80’s cheesed-out keyboard and muted chords on the electric guitar.
Written by Nolan Shigley.