Who? This quintet — frontman Thom Moran, guitarist Craig Hendrix, bassist David Eugene, keyboardist Brian Hamilton, and drummer Andrew Dole — are not French, as their name would suggest. They are, in fact, indie darlings from Boston, but that doesn’t mean the name isn’t an inappropriate one: The group is both bon (good) and includes at least one real savant (scientist); Moran is a part-time rocket scientist. Really. Bon Savants began as a fledgling post-punk band in Germany when Moran and (recently departed) founding guitarist Kevin Haley came together as teens. After many years and many geographical locations, the two settled on Boston, put out a Craigslist ad for more musicians, and watched Bon Savants take shape. Their debut LP, Post-Rock Defends the Nation, sees Stateside independent release November 7.
What’s the Deal? The real buzz on these good scientists started after a residency at NYC’s Pianos last July, but Bostonians have been talking about Bon Savants for a while now. In fact, Moran was recently voted Boston’s best vocalist by a local newspaper. It’s easy enough to see why — Moran is able to conjure the likes of David Bowie, Damon Albarn, and Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker with his versatile pipes. Lucky for him, the rest of the band have the ability to enforce their frontman’s whiffs of Brit with their own; if you didn’t know any better, you might think Bon Savants were from across the pond instead of Beantown. Post-Rock Defends the Nation — which was produced by Bill Racine (Rogue Wave, Phantom Planet) — sees Moran and Co. apply generous helpings of guitar-fuzz and sailing melodies to a set of tunes equally suited to early-morning transit as they are to late-night dancing. It’s the ideal recipe for getting record label attention, should Bon Savants be interested in relinquishing their indie status. In fact, album closer (and highlight) “I Am the Atom Bomb” may be enough of an explosion on its own to get the labels’ ears turned in their direction.
Fun Fact: Rock’n’roll coolness aside, Bon Savants frontman Thom Moran seems better destined for a career in the realm of geekdom: Along with the aforementioned rocket science, at 16 years old Moran, won the silver medal at the World Field Archer championships. Had he won gold, Bon Savants may have been but an unrealized twinkle in a skilled archer’s eye. KAITLIN FONTANA
Now Hear This: Bon Savants – “Between the Moon and the Ocean” DOWNLOAD MP3
On SPIN.com: New Track from Bon Savants ‘Defends the Nation’
Talk: Are these savants bon enough for you? COMMENT
On the Web: bonsavants.com