La Honda - I See Stars (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
LA HONDA’S album I See Stars almost never got released. And that would have been a travesty.
Recorded some 12 years ago by Sarah Joyce (now better known as multi-platinum selling singer Rumer) together with songwriting guitarist Malcolm Doherty, drummer Dave Roberts and bassist Mark George Brown, I See Stars has only now seen the light of day via the band’s own AMS record label.
It’s a goldmine of great songs that was inspired by the West Coast sound of the ’60s, from Buffalo Springfield and The Mamas & The Papas to Dylan, Donovan and Laurel Canyon, with a touch of Joyce’s Karen Carpenter vocals thrown in.
This is a warm, retro-heavy record that is steeped in classic values. And it’s irresistible once you’ve heard it.
The standouts are numerous, from breezy folk-pop opener Take A Look Around You to the beautiful title track I See Stars through to the bittersweet Moth In The Incubator, which unfurls in such tender fashion you fear it might break.
Maybe Sunshine, on the other hand, adopts a more robust sound, with a more energetic delivery that serves the album really well (complete with lush background harmonies and a more plugged in sound).
Elsewhere, there’s a feeling of forbidden fruit wrapped around the terrific Rich Man’s Wine, a boy-girl duet, complete with country twang that has some great lyrics to offset its warm West Coast melodicism (“I know you love is a rich man’s wine, just a single taste and I feel fine”). Joyce, for her part, really adopts a Carpenter-esque vocal here that’s impossible not to swoon to.
Solid Gold also has a terrific vibe to it, with a darker melody to begin with, and just a classic quality surrounding it that’s so easy to become enveloped by. If you think they don’t write songs of this nature anymore, then think again (although, admittedly, it has taken 12 years for it to see the light of day).
We could keep raving but, in truth, there’s no point. Instead, we’d urge you to go out and buy this marvellous record. It may have taken 12 years but it’s been well worth the wait.
Once heard, you’re musical life will be enriched, while you’ll yearn for a reunion and a follow-up record.
Download picks: Take A Look Around You, I See Stars, Solid Gold, Rich Man’s Wine, Maybe Sunshine, The One That Got Away