Vibrant and free-flowing, ‘Belly Kiss’ is the self-produced debut single from French multi-instrumentalist Billy Bonbon, whose real name is Félix Martinaud. It’s the first song in weeks that has moved me to the point of wanting to share it with everyone I know, with strangers at a bar, with great friends, with trolls on the Internet, to shout about it from the mountain tops and whisper about it in the ears of both lovers and critics.
Listening to ‘Belly Kiss’ is like walking along the Seine in Paris or revving a classic motorcycle through the rolling highways of Provence with the best lover you’ll ever have but can’t keep.
A mix of avant pop, indie rock, dream pop, and post-rock, the song is both sad yet intensely joyful. It exists in the same musical realm as J.W. Francis’ ‘New York,’ but is distinctly French, ever-so-slightly more retro, and divinely, lyrically simple.
‘Belly Kiss I know, hoooold on…’ coos Billy.
‘Long, long ago, we were so…..’
Written about an ex, the lyrics capture a nostalgic lost moment in as few words as possible, yet with the largest poetic impact.
Jangly guitars with minor chord progressions drive the song forward, playing so sweetly they could make corporate lawyers fawn. The track’s jar-tight drumming also propels it, wistfully grabbing you in a body-swaying beat.
The bass line, created with a Squier Jazz Bass fed through a Fender guitar amp with a rolled off treble, feels similar to some of the best bass lines from ‘90s French band Stereolab, and perhaps Air, giving the song distant but grounded roots in ‘90s French indie and ultimately, ‘60s French pop.
‘Belly Kiss’ first garnered attention through SamFish Music and The Daily Dose before momentarily slipping under the radar of every music blogger. The song has since been rediscovered this week, and let it be known that we predicted it here on Rockdafuqout first: ‘Belly Kiss’ will be on the Submithub popular charts within the next month.
Keep going, Billy. We love it, and we look forward to more.
Vanessa Van Ness is a writer, musician, and producer living in Brooklyn.