le Main Drag

by The Bon Mots

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Notices for le Main Drag (2003)

Excerpts from some reviews of le Main Drag. Full reviews are collected at: www.thebonmots.com/words/notices.html

SPIN, August 2004
If Le Main Drag is any indication, the Bon Mots are one of the most promising new bands out there. Before long, they might have a chart-topping double LP on their hands. Regardless, they already have a debut of Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik proportions in the bank. Think Spoon with a shot of simmered down Hot Hot Heat and a nod to the Yardbirds to boot. [Grade: A-]

JIM DEROGATIS, Chicago Sun-Times, 1/21/05
Appealingly jangly psychedelic/power-pop quartet that draws on the familiar influences of the Byrds and the Zombies but rises to the top of this always-overcrowded genre by virtue of its strong songwriting, Chris Frantisak's atmospheric keyboards and the swirling production of its 12-song album . . . it's worth attention. At its best moments, it evokes the Rain Parade's classic "Emergency Third Rail Power Trip."

Daily Herald
A 12-song gem . . . with many lush layers of pop sophistication. These are not straightforward tunes in the classic sense, but they remain tuneful, spiked by a range of heavily carbonated guitars. Intelligent and appealing just scratch the surface here.

Jack Rabid, The Big Takeover
This is the sort of ringing pop with great rhythm section work that stands out…

Copper Press: Daily Copper Interview with Eric and Mike

Richard Milne of WXRT Radio Chicago sayeth:
"Le Main Drag" is one of the Top 5 Local Anesthetic albums for 2003.

Monica Kendrick, Chicago Reader, Spot Check 11/14/03
[S]ome mysterious alchemy is apparently at work. [T]he debut from the Bon Mots is pretty dazzling. It's a lush, mature, and audacious mix of heady guitar fizz and old-fashioned pop songwriting . . . . definitely worth keeping an eye on.

DAGGER, Issue #34, Spring 2004
I have never seen Chicago's THE BON MOTS live so basically all I have to go on is their one CD called LE MAIN DRAG (Mellifluid Records) that DAGGER contributor John Gray turned me onto, but man, what a CD it is! They take the best parts of late 80's New Zealand jangle (think Straightjacket Fits) and blend it into their own near-perfect stew. Read on readers . . . (Tim Hinely)

AMPLIFIER, July 2004
[D]efies any attempt to easily categorize them as mere revisionists . . .a skewered delivery, an atmospheric, heavily textured ambiance that makes their approach sound slightly somewhat aloof and less embraceable than those they're said to emulate. In that sense, they more accurately resemble bands like the Church and REM, groups that also draw on '60s references but often filter them through a hazy, psychedelic sheen. The droll vocals . . . contribute to this perception . . . there's an understated irony that frequently underscores their bittersweet melodies.

The Bon Mots just may be Chicago's best-kept secret. Coy's infectious "Glistening" opens the set with a well-plotted, upbeat pop song chronicling a fascination with cigarette-clutching supermodels. Giving way to Chial's Marshall Crenshaw-like pipes on "Nocturna'"; a lush, dreamy ode that explores the Mots' depth. And for each head bopping, hummable number like "Time Was" and "Under Wraps" that these Windy City cats bring forth, there's a hazy, jazzy "Get Heavy," or a dark, rumbling "Vultures" to cement just how dexterous these guys really are. Coy and Chial bring their game on Le Main Drag, resulting in a dozen keepers.

The Daily Texan, Austin, TX
Indie-pop freshness combined with warm jazzy methodology . . . a lot of their messages do not come pre-digested, but it does make for some flavorful analytical listening . . . though rhetorically eloquent, they help digest some of their heaviness with intelligent instrumentals. With the support of keyboadist Chris Frantisak, whose Wulitzer skills are reminiscent of Billy Preston during his Beatles stint, and drummer Kevin Hoetger, who supplies wicked back-beat jazz flow. (4 and a half out of 5 stars).

Mundane Sounds
A great record from a fine band . . . their raison d'etre appears to be nothing more than to go out and have a fun time making sophisticated yet enjoyable pop. I can't fault them for that, and I don't. "Ghetto Falsetto" is just one of many really great songs. (Mundane Sounds CD Sampler)

MOVEMENT- Jacksonville, FLA
The Bon Mots write really good pop music . . . the best thing musically to come out of Chicago since The Smashing Pumpkins. Let's hope the follow-up to "Le Main Drag" showcases even more of their spider-sense for creating a great pop song.

Splendid Zine, 2/17/04
"The Bon Mots' brand of breathy pop is both hummable and mordant — a rare trait, to be certain — and that lethal combination tags them as one of the brightest stars on the pop frontier."

F5: Wichita's Alt News
Le Main Drag is as funny as it is serious, as innovative as it is familiar and as biting as it is embracing.

Independisc picks "le Main Drag" as its 2003 Disc of the Year
Line after line of lyrics we just want to quote back to people . . . reminds us of The Hollies crossed with The Jam and sprinkled over with a bit of Squeeze and Elvis Costello & The Attractions . . . lyrics that twist a sense of misery in a clever and witty fashion that makes more sense than the logic dictated to us as "normal." Normal is a drag, man.

Playing a collection of vintage instruments that would make any collector drool, a truly retrospective study of pop influence is displayed here. The real highlight and main turning point of the record comes in the form of a loungy, sensual shuffle, "Get Heavy": "Took her to the bathroom for a little kiss - In a classic combination of innocence and filth."

An awesome guitar-pop record, with lotsa moogs and other kickass accoutrements, I get some luscious intersecting vibes. Like The Go-Betweens meets The Lucksmiths, The Zombies meets The Byrds, Rufus Wainwright and Joe Jackson, The Smiths meet Elephant 6, both the Matinee and Parasol rosters smushed together, plus a lovely nostalgic feeling that is as much powerhouse eighties college rock hookfest as it is seasoned sixties pop sensibilities.

(Rating: 4+++) Extremely well executed upbeat pop with a difference. surprisingly unpretentious. The tunes have a nice, clean sound and feature some very imaginative melodies. Unlike many of their peers, these fellows don't wear dumb clothes and don't clutter their tunes with noise and weird sounds. Some of these tunes harken back to the British pop from the 1980s. Pretty cool stuff.

The differences in Coy and Chial's writing styles reveal themselves after several listenings, the album flowing as a seamless whole. Chial’s songs tend to have greater chordal complexity, while Coy’s draw on exuberant grooves; Coy has immediacy to Chial’s subtlety. But those lines are not constant, and there is truly a band at work here, not a project for two songwriters. they are not revivalists in the slightest. They’ve absorbed their influences fully, bringing to mind a similarly inclined East Coast trio with two main writers, the Figgs. The arrangements are dynamic, flourishes are never superfluous. Inside the punch and wallop, the songs are built on potent melodic character. The singing is committed and the playing is rich and punchy. What more do you want or need?

South of Mainstream
[L]ove it . . . their combination of pop sensibility, chop shop beats, gingerly sprinkled keyboards, thoughtful lyrics and swashbuckling vocals . . .

Pop Matters 11/04
The Bon Mots certainly live up to their name on their debut album Le Main Drag. Mixing witty lyrics and sly nods to the likes of Elvis Costello and Pavement, their musical chemistry crosses the borders of '90s indie and '80s pop with a smarty-pants attitude.

University Reporter (UR) Chicago
[A] grown up version of bittersweet melancholy. . .

Even though two competing egos and minds are at work, Le Main Drag never feels like two separate albums Elmer-glued together and never approaches White Album territory. Both singers flourish, engulfed in the entire spectrum of spectacular pop music of the 60s, never fearing to unleash a psychedelic guitar solo or just coast along to Beatles-sans-the-facial-hair-esque pop.

Tankboy, Lost In Guyville
1960's chimey guitar surfing over moog keys . . . on this stunning debut.

Chicago's Bon Mots reference decades worth of catchy guitar pop, touching on everything from the 60's sounds of the Kinks and the Zombies to the kiwi rock of New Zealand's Flying Nun label. Mike Coy and Eric Chial trade songwriting duties and vocals throughout the album, yet Le Main Drag retains a cohesive feel from start to finish.


released November 5, 2003

Mike Coy: writer, odd tracks; vocals, guitar, bass.
Eric Chial: writer, even tracks; vocals, guitar, bass.
Chris Frantisak: piano, keys.
Kevin Hoetger: drums, percussion, backing vocals.

Produced by The Bon Mots. Engineered and mixed by Neal Ostrovsky,
at B-Side Audio, Chicago.



all rights reserved


The Bon Mots Chicago, Illinois

SPIN: Bon Mots are one of the most promising new bands out there. A-

JIM DEROGATIS: Jangly psychedelic/power-pop draws on Byrds and Zombies but rises to the top of this always-overcrowded genre by virtue of strong songwriting, swirling production.

AMPLIFIER: Understated irony frequently underscores bittersweet melodies.

ALL MUSIC GUIDE: Bon Mots just may be Chicago's best-kept secret.
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Track Name: Glistening
Glistening you wear the summer beautifully
Accessorize in skin just to draw me in
Basting in suntan lotion marinade of coconuts and gin
Just to draw me in
And watch me fall apart
Well there's a start to getting deep inside your heart to stay
Or turn away if that's not what you're going through today

Truth or dare
I dare you just to tell the truth about your latest dare
Crashing scenes with Lucky Strikes and limousines and
Wondering why they stare
To watch you fall apart
Well there's a start to getting deep inside your heart to stay
Or turn away if that's not what you're going through today

Shivering you wear your beauty honestly
Accessorize in skin
Rolling eyes turned upward toward the garish skies
And pause to take them in
And know you've done me in
And watched me fall apart
Well there's a start to getting deep inside your heart to stay
Or turn away if that's not what you're going through today
Track Name: Nocturna

Every now and every then
And every other chance I get
I look for you under the frozen moon
Though I'm certain we've never met

I'm sure you've got a name
That you're just not listing
Too pure for the light of day
But when the frost is glistening
I hear the trees shiver
Whisper your name

A little ways from where I live
Is the place you've been hiding in
With king of the underground
In the dark and without a sound


Flowing down to the sunless sea
To the realm of uncreated things
Unleashed this melody
Played his tune for the shadow king

Track Name: Under Wraps
We smile nice
Accepting tragedy as a plot device
And far away
Somebody sees this all as a holiday

It's hard as hell
But tough's a cool disguise
And you wear it well
Avoid the touch
'Cause coming clean right now's
Just a bit too much
The truth and such

But keep it under wraps
Until you get your shadow back

The engineers of your destruction
Swing from the chandeliers
We start from scratch
To build a perfect monster
That won't talk back
Imagine that

But keep it under wraps
Until you get your shadow back
Track Name: Touched By A Robot
Touched By A Robot

Step on the train
There's no going back to the summer
It's gone forever
Tripping the turnstile one last day
Up on the platform
The door slides open
Now it's closing
Going away
See it rolling
They're going away
See them all wave

Every thing that you want
Is everything you need
It's a pity it's everything you see
In every page of every magazine
Like an antenna
Stand at attention
Receive the message
Line up for blessing
Going away
Touched by a robot
Signal's in range
See them all wave

Now you're breaking your bank
As you break your back
Stare at the billboards
Workers are up on the track
Their hair and nails and their teeth
And cheekbones
Can't get control of it
There's a hole in it
Wrapped up in headlines
Head for the salt mines
Going away
Wrapped up in headlines
Rolling away
See them all wave
Track Name: Five Coats
Five Coats

Standing all by himself
Under the viaduct
Got fiver coats on
Plus one for good luck

Got the earflaps down
On his hat pulled low
When you look at the guy
You think it's forty below

But he's sweating in the August sun
And the salt off his brow
Makes his mascara run
He's got it all buttoned down
But his mind's undone

Now he's kicked himself loose
From the earth and sea
Flat on his back
In the middle of the street
People and cars pass by
His six-stop bed
Not as hard to direct
As the traffic in his head

No you can't tell him what to do
Because he's perfectly free
Inside his point of view
He's pointing six ways at once and
Nowhere too

What you see is what you forget
Like it hasn't happened yet
On a screen
Cinema verite
Look away
You can stare and look away
Track Name: Get Heavy
Get Heavy

It's coming to get me
Survival of the fittest
Throw a fit to win you idiot
And it's scary
Like a disease I didn't see
Until it bore down on me

Well there's a not so little part of me
Stuck here at this never ending party
It'll be okay I'll be all right
I just slept through the most important section
Of my life

Dug into your pocket and I paid my way
Every little step of the way
Now I'm a little homesick
And a little sick
'Cause I don't got no one here to buy me dick

Now I'm pretending to be innocent
Faking a mood of modesty and generalized regret
And I'm really starting to bug me
Just last night I was fawning like an advertisement

This is the part where it starts to get

Took her to the bathroom for a little kiss
In a classic combination of innocence and filth
Fluorescent spark in the reflection
And some funky little pills
Committing random acts of smugness
Using words I can't pronounce
Check out the full set of italics
Hanging off my mouth
Track Name: Time Was
Time Was

Under the desert
Of every blank hour
That you spend looking back
You could be soaking
In the reservoir

Got it all boxed up
So you'll never forget
Where all the time went
None of the names were changed
They all stayed the same
No one was innocent

Time was not a single design
Went undone
Sing said it was driving you
Blind dumb and dead
Eyes down head turned around
Sign said it was driving you
Blind dumb and dead

Step in the river
Then step in again
Take a good look down
Footsteps going to dissolve

Here's a riddle
With your mind undone
Is it frozen in time
Stare at the sun
Perfectly preserved
Time was you were the lucky one
Track Name: Idiot Kiss
Idiot Kiss

Just before daybreak
As the eavesdroppers crawled out
I saw a little doubt
Creep into the corners of your mouth

Not really digging your new mantra
Now I"m not digging my new mantra too
Don't like jokes
Jokes are too funny
Jokes don't tell me what I should do

Should I jump on in line
For the hots pants insurrection
Free your mind
Free yourself from my inspection
You're feeling fine
Got your eyes beyond the fences
It's no crime
Just some trumped up false pretenses

Read your red book at my own peril
Red book burning in the back of my mind
Red book dawning with the word eternal
Red book burning in the red book light

So if ignorance is bliss
Come on baby flip the switch
Give me that idiot kiss
Turn off my mind take a trip
Got a hot wire to my spine
Got me livid with desire
Come on, come on
Give me that idiot kiss

Lying in the dirt
On the back of my high horse
High horse riding in to waste the day
Can't stop talking
Now you're making me nervous
Can't stop walking like a talking cliche