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.