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LE REN

Le Ren

Leftovers

    Leftovers, the debut album from Montreal’s Le Ren, stitches together a patchwork of personal songs about different relationships: those we share with mothers, lovers, and friends. Lauren Spear, the artist behind Le Ren, created a physical quilt to mirror the assemblage of stories that comprise her album: a coming-of-age collage that collects over four years of past experiences and finds their present meaning.

    Leftovers was originally scheduled to be recorded in LA in early 2020, but the pandemic forced Le Ren to reconsider the kind of album she wanted to make, and how she wanted to make it. Taking the time to revamp old songs and bring the past to bear upon new ones, she distilled years of material into ten tightly executed tracks united by the swooning pluck of her guitar and the crystal clear timbre of her voice. The result is a timeless assemblage of love, heartache, celebration, and lessons hard-learned, written and performed by a musician who has honed the subtleties of her craft.

    With its organic yet meticulous folk production and deeply felt lyrics, Leftovers exists outside of trend or time, finding a home among classic icons like Joni Mitchell, Vashti Bunyan, and Karen Dalton, as well as a new class of folk extraordinaires, such as Adrianne Lenker, Jessica Pratt, and Laura Marling. Le Ren writes with a bold clarity that lends her songs the immediate, enduring quality of good stories well-told that, like their album title-namesake, only get better with age. Leftovers is equal parts melancholy, deep love, and levity to lift up the mournful. Le Ren here weaves a rich musical tapestry addressed to loved ones lost, found, and

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: 'Leftovers' is a beautifully written and tender culmination of Lauren Spear's musings on various relationships, filtered through the medium of folky guitar and gorgeously sung vocals.

    TRACK LISTING

    SIDE A:
    1. Take On Me
    2. Dyan
    3. Was I Not Enough?
    4. I Already Love You
    5. Who’s Going To Hold Me Next?

    SIDE B:
    6. Your Cup
    7. Annabelle & MaryAnne (feat. Tenci)
    8. Willow
    9. Friends Are Miracles
    10. May Hard Times Pass Us By

    Le Ren

    Morning & Melancholia

      Le Ren’s close-to-the-bone, heartbreak folk songs seem, at first, to tap into a shared musical memory. A melody swirls forward and you’re just sure it’s known to the back of your mind; was it in from a movie you saw, some classic mid-60s setpiece? Maybe it’s something you heard as a kid, in the backseat of your mom’s Cutlass, or the shotgun seat of your own. But before you can zero in through the fog, your heart is torn apart by her voice — rich, direct and mellifluous — steering you through these slowburn tunes about real-life loss.

      “Discussing songwriting feels the same as when someone asks about your tattoo,” says Lauren Spear, 26, the sole voice and songwriter behind Montreal’s Le Ren. “You’re putting it out there, showing it in public right on your arm. Then, when someone asks you ‘Hey, what’s that tattoo mean?,’ you’re shocked to have to explain it, as it is a choice that feels essential for a particular moment.”

      Two years ago, Spear’s ex-boyfriend was killed in a car accident. Since then, she has been struggling with the immeasurable weight of being the sole keeper of their shared memories and in response, translated a sliver of that experience into music. Her EP, Morning & Melancholia, is a mediation on mourning, memory and how to live with the ellipses you’re forever left with in the wake of loss.

      The way Le Ren is able to look tragedy directly in its eyes and never let her voice so much as quiver is owed to a few things. Raised on rural Bowen Island, British Columbia, the isolated lifestyle allows for a certain independent dedication to craft that is evident in her performances. Spear has studied folk and bluegrass going back to her early teens, partaking in workshops and festivals all over North America. You can hear in her acumen the gorgeous folk formalism of Canadian heroes Kate and Anna McGerrigle. But it’s not all rigor and acuity that makes Le Ren’s music so stunning. She was also raised on The Holy Trinity of songwriters John Prine, Neil Young and Bob Dylan, and their curious, deadpan and cosmic approach to life’s most brutal swipes also feed Le Ren’s sensibilities. Her lyrical couplets are as simply put as they are devastating. “So here we are at the end of all things // I guess I learned too late // that love can’t be the only reason to stay,” she sings on the closer “Love Can’t Be the Only Reason To Stay”. It’s gut wrenching, but sure-footed. And you can almost hear the slight smile on one side of her mouth as she sings, the knowing smile of someone who knows real pain, knows there’s surely more to come, but who also knows it doesn’t erase life’s humorous, enduring beauty.

      TRACK LISTING

      SIDE A:
      1. Love Can’t Be The Only Reason To Stay
      2. How To Begin To Say Goodbye
      SIDE B:
      4. If I Had Wings
      5. The Day I Lose My Mind


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