Daisy House are an American treasure. They know the past, they breathe the 1960s, but they somehow make it all sound new and relevant for now. Their latest album is Bon Voyage, the last installment of what the band’s musical visionary Doug Hammond calls their “modern Amerikan trilogy” (which includes Western Man and Crossroads). The record is another tour de force of sophisticated songwriting, inventive instrumentation, and breathtaking vocals, creatively stamped by the 1960s but not stuck there. Remember when you could listen to a whole album by your favourite artist without wanting to needle drop your way to the hits? Daisy House is that kind of band. Get comfy because Bon Voyage is a pleasure cruise from beginning to end.
Title track “Bon Voyage” kicks off the album sounding like a great lost Gordon Lightfoot song c. 1970, shifting a bit more toward Joni Mitchell as things develop. The song adds another shade to Doug’s already impressive range of vocal styles. On “Stop Looking at Me” Tatiana delivers a strong but cheeky post-feminist anthem. Then “A.I. Girls” showcases Doug channeling a bit of the Moody Blues’ late 1960s pop sensibility, particularly on the vocals. “Let’s Do it Again” is the kidnapped Chrissie Hynde vocal on this record, a song The Pretenders would be well advised to cover. “Over the Hill” is a lovely Byrdsian-inspired number which seamlessly shifts from the folk rock to country influences of that band. When we get to “Till the End of the World” things change up wth a striking piano ballad beautifully sung by Tatiana, full stop. One thing that never ceases to amaze me is Doug’s mastery of 1960s musical motifs, which he utilizes with inspired restraint, readily apparent on record’s only cover, “Letter to No One.” The band also offers a remake of an earlier song, “Like a Superman,” this time “now sped up to a proper Mama Cass-ian tempo” says Doug. And just when you think it can’t get any better, late in the album Daisy House hit it out of the park with what should be the surefire hit single, “Open Your Eyes,” a hooky bit of California sixties AM radio magic. Bon Voyage closes with a song that captures Doug’s call for an ‘approachable underground,” an acoustic ode to that classic, relatable mix of 1960s progressive values i.e. freedom, love and togetherness.
This is a band that should be going places. Get on over to their Bandcamp and Facebook sites to find out why. The current album and their whole back catalogue beg for a long road trip somewhere pleasant. With this on the car stereo, it won’t really won’t matter where you’re going.