First time out, it 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 bassist Jeff Cloud's Velvet Blue Music.
The second time, it was a challenge -- could the Martin's produce enough winning songs to fill a full-length recording and not have it sound like a novelty? The result, 1998's sticky-sweet selftitled debut, was a kind of pop music taffy pull, a tart and tense collection of airy, amorous songs that laid Julie's feather-light coo against Jason's jangling guitar.
And now the third time, four years later, is the arrival. Having shuffled off all perceptions of Bon Voyage as hobby or side project, Jason and Julie unveil ten more heavenly pop hits, owing as much to Talulah Gosh as to Julie Cruise. 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" slinks 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.
But more than anything The Right Amount is a branching out, a chance for Jason to step outside the psych-pop of Starflyer 59 and concentrate on composing taut, singable pop songs, supported by minimal instrumentation and staying aloft purely on their own strength. And songs like the barely-there "On Your Side" seem at times on the verge of collapse -- but that's what makes them so dazzling. It's impossible to tell where Jason ends and Julie begins, and this seamlessness of vision is what makes The Right Amount Bon Voyage's definitive statement. It's like sonic cotton candy -- sweet, soft, pastel-pink and practically weightless.