Rising Montréal-based singer/songwriter Rachel Leblanc, best known to the outside world as Vanille, specializes in a sound that exists somewhere between ’60s folk and French chanson and brings the listener into a dreamlike world of dense forests and swooning heartbreak.
Leblanc’s sophomore Vanille album, the Alex Martel and Leblanc co-produced La clairière is slated for a February 3, 2023 release through Bonbonbon Records in Canada and Boogie Drugstore in Europe. Recorded at Wild Studio and Le Pantoum, La Clairére sees Leblanc retaining elements of the dream pop sound and approach that won her attention — but while leaning heavily into 60s English baroque folk.
Last summer, I wrote about “À bientôt,” a swooning and expansive bit of psych folk-meets-psych rock featuring a lush arrangement of strummed reverb-drenched guitars, gently padded drumming paired with Leblanc’s achingly tender falsetto. And at its core, is tale as old as time itself: a heartbroken narrator, in the aftermath of the devastation of a newly-ended relationship i left with their memories — and the bitter taste of their heartbreak.
La clairère‘s latest single “M’as tu vu passer?” continues a run of gorgeous, baroque folk-inspired material featuring strummed guitar, atmospheric synths, gently padded drumming and percussion paired with Leblanc’s plaintive and ethereal cooing. “M’as tu va passer?” is simultaneously a song about heartbreak and depression, and of dark and cold Montréal winters without anywhere to really go or anything to really do.
Directed by Rachel Leblanc and Irina Tempea, the accompanying visual for “M’as tu va passer?” is shot on Super 8 film to give it all a hazily nostalgic, old-timey air. The video references winter in several different instances: Leblanc laying down on a furry blanket with fake snow falling on her, Leblanc holding a snow globe and edited footage of a couple fighter skating.