Laure Briard is a Toulouse, France-based singer/songwriter, who has a had a highly uncommon path to professional music. Briard bounced around several different interests and passions for some time: She studied literature and criminology and even acted a bit, before concentrating on music full-time in 2013.
After the release of her debut EP, 2013’s Laure Briard chante la France, Briard met Juilen Gasc and Eddy Cramps, and the trio began working on the material that would eventually become her full-length debut, 2015’s Révélation. Inspired by Françoise Hardy, Margo Guryan and Vashti Bunyan, Révélation featured modern and poetic lyricism.
Briard then signed with Midnight Special Records, who released her sophomore album, 2016’s Sur la Piste de Danse. Repeated trips to Brazil inspired and informed her next three efforts –2018’s Coração Louco EP, 2019’s Un peu plus d’amour s’il vous plâit and 2021’s En Voo EP, which were heavily indebted to Bossa Nova and saw the Toulouse-based artist writing and singing lyrics in Brazilian Portuguese and French. Those three efforts were rooted in a successful series of collaborations between the Toulouse-based JOVM mainstay, the equally acclaimed JOVM mainstays, Latin Grammy Award nominated, Brazilian psych rockers Boogarins, Marius Dufflot, and her longtime collaborators Vincent “Octopus” Guyot
The JOVM mainstay’s fourth album Ne pas trop rester bleue is slated for a February 10, 2023 release through Midnight Special Records. Inspired and informed by Joshua Tree, a remote national park that’s a no man’s land, where space and time seem to stretch on forever. An odd fantasy land, where America’s simultaneously obsolete and haunted by its myths and past legends. But ultimately, the album celebrates rebirth and letting go.
Although Ne pas trop rester bleue took three long years to finish, the album was enriched and informed by her travels, and as a result, the effort was liberating. Reportedly much lighter and more optimistic than Sur la piste de dance, an album rooted in broken destinies, disillusionments and heartbreaks, Ne pas trop rester bleue is a cathartic, deeply autobiographical effort that allows the Toulouse-based JOVM mainstay to essentially free herself from lingering ghosts — and to conjure new ones.
The album’s material is influenced quite a bit by the legendary Carole King, Lee Hazlwood, the poet Don Gibson and Bobbie Gentry. Briard continues her ongoing collaboration with Julien Gasc and Vincent “Octopus” Guyot, who assisted in the material’s arrangements. Sonically, the result is an album that draws from soul, pop and country featuring string and brass arrangements paired with the JOVM mainstay’s breezy delivery.
Featuring twinkling keys, brooding and shimmering strings and soulful brass arrangements paired with Briard’s coquettish delivery, Ne pas trop rester bleue‘s latest single “The Smell of Your Hair” sounds as though it could have been a unreleased track from the Tapestry sessions that was cut from the album. And much like Tapestry, “The Smell of Your Hair” tells a story about a heartbreaking encounter — but in this case, with a lonesome cowboy type in Joshua Tree, where fleeting passion under the desert sun was lulled by birdsong and the sound of wind. And instead of lamenting over the inevitable separation and giving into bitterness, heartbreak or even melodrama, the song’s narrator attempts to turn heartbreak into a playfully sunny and sensual memory.
Directed by Benjamin Marius Petit, the accompanying video for “The Smell of Your Hair” features Briard and her band playing in a full, behind-the-scenes styled visual. Fittingly, Briard and band are in ’70s-inspired costumes, playing in a ’70s-styled white box studio. Shot from four different camera perspectives, the clip utilizes diverse image styles and distortion effects (wide angle, fisheye, 360 tracking…), evoking “a psychedelic LSD trip in Woodstock, but also a mixing of eras, with visual references that could belong at once to the 70’s and to contemporary times,” explains the director Benjamin Marius Petit. “The goal was not to make a strictly ‘retro’ clip but, to best reflect the atmosphere of Laure’s music, to keep one foot in the past and the other in the present.”