Lets get it clear from the start. Yes, Marie-Flore’s parents picked her name as a tribute to the Joan Baez song “Marie-Flore” – and that became her stage name. Marie-Flore was born at the end of the eighties in a Paris suburb, to a cultured family. As a teenager, after eight years in the music academy, she strove for emancipation and started learning the guitar on her own.

From then on, she spent years writing personal texts which she soon set to music. Her first texts were written in French before subsequently moving on to English, the language of her music references. In her approach, she casts a new, poetic gaze on idioms, which suddenly get a new meaning. The aptly-named song « By The Dozen » is an example, and it is the title of the singer’s first album, which she has been composing over the past three years. She has now drifted away from the expected guitar-voice paradigm in which one would be tempted to trap her, to choose a resolutely pop melody.

By The Dozen retraces the story of love towards a male muse. The love is gone, but it is reflected through the fantasies, the frustrations and hopes in ten songs. She manages to conjure up universal feelings without falling into careless ways, with disconcerting ease. All in all, she handles melodies, rhythms and voice in a way than only few young musicians can. With her producer Robin Leduc, a long-standing accomplice, she tackles the music industry with spontaneity and faces the expected logistical hazards of the indie scene without giving up.

Meanwhile indeed, Marie-Flore travels and meets new people. Peter Doherty invites her as the opening act to two of his tours. Marie-Flore signs pieces that sound like her and refuses attitude: her music is thought through, audacious, vivid. No mistake about it for Parisian band Stuck In The Sound: they ask her to write lyrics for Poursuit (2012). She also meets keyboardist Roger O’Donnell from The Cure, with promising artistic exchange. American eccentric Gregg Foreman, who among other activities plays the guitar for Cat Power, shares with her « Feathered With Daggers » in By The Dozen. Maud-Élisa Mandeau, aka Le Prince Miiaou, has become one of her best music accomplices.

Recorded in Robin Leduc’s studio in the heart of Paris, By The Dozen is a forceful opus. Short and efficient, it conveys Marie-Flore’s multiple influences. The singer confesses a mad passion for The Brian Jonestown Massacre and Velvet Underground, whose influence clearly shows in the poisonous « All Mine ». However, she really is the only one you hear: from the opening in various layers in « Number Them » in which the guitar jousts with the keyboard to the lavish orchestral final in « Nikolaj Le Second », each song is deliberately unique. « Empty Walls »’ original simple folk blossoms into undeniably rousing synthetic rock. In « Sybillin King », the emotional ballad includes sensual strings. With « Fancy Me », one listens with delight Marie-Flore’s ode to a lover taking a French leave.

With its deeply live power, By The Dozen reveals Marie-Flore’s ambivalent personality, simultaneously versatile and radical. Simply listening to By The Dozen makes you realize that you are dealing with sensitive rock, but with a singer who knows what melody is about. Bottom line, this is a precious artist.


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