It’s a cloudy morning in the Triangle, but you wouldn’t know it from inside my den. Laure Briard’s Ne pas trop rester bleue is a radiant burst of sunshine cutting through the gloom and imbuing the environs with light and warmth. Think Francoise Hardy, France Gall, Sylvie Gartan and other French yé-yé singers of the 1960s paired with the era’s premier tunesmiths. More modern comparisons include The School and Yearning, throwback acts each, plus Bebel Gilberto due to a Brazilian lilt that glides through several songs.
The 29-minute album features tracks in both English and French, with the former often including broken syntax (“I have to clean the bad vibrations”) and the like. Yet the odd phrasing adds an eccentric air to the proceedings that furthers the dreamlike quality. Which is to say, one need not be fluent in either English or French to enjoy the results (though I assume, if you’re reading this, you’re comfortable with the former). My knowledge of “le langage de l’amour” is limited to a long-ago 9th-grade class, at any rate, yet I find myself lost Briard’s vocal inflections and the music’s melodic shifts. It’s a bit like Gillian Hills’ “Zou Bisou Bisou,” in a sense. One need not read a translation to appreciate what’s being sung. Sour days will turn sweet upon one play, guaranteed.
“Ciel mel azur” is a good example. Written during a 2019 Brazilian tour while on the road between Rio de Janeiro and a village called Vitória, one need not know its origins or that it’s a love letter to Brazil to enjoy it.
The title track, which sports a Tamla influence, is another highpoint. In a press release, she explained, “I’m quite pessimistic in life and this song is a way of reminding myself that you have to know how to put things into perspective. Rather than staying too down or brooding, I want to take advantage of all of life’s stages that pass us by so quickly.”
In short, Ne pas is a Day-Glo affair that should come with a warning label affixed to its jewel box or record sleeve—one listen and you’ll be hooked. I’ve had it on repeat for much of the past week, at any rate. There’s not much more to say than that.
The track list: