by Philip Moss
Music as a form of joy and comfort: Lauren Spears’ debut reflects fondly on the past, revels in the present, and optimistically questions what is ahead
When Lauren Spears sings, you have no choice but to listen. A voice born and grown in the clubs and bars of her native Montreal, there is a warming richness that goes beyond what is expected of a new artist. And the same has to be said of her songs.
Last year’s extended play, Morning and Melancholia, was a set of songs deserving of their place on any record. For many, they’d each have been lead singles, but such is Spears’ talent that she didn’t feel the need to save them. Which brings us to Leftovers – a collection that could lifted from any of the last five decades. Spears is a ‘singer/songwriter’, but the label doesn’t do her justice. She is an immense artist, as shown on Dyan – an ode to her mother that surely left her, like I’m convinced it does many who encounter it, in tears at its unfeigned, pin sharp emotional pricking. Its plucked intro recalls Leonard Cohen; its narrative could be plucked from Townes Van Zandt’s canon.
And the timelessness continues. The country infused Who’s Going to Hold Me Next? sees her embracing her inner troubadour and heading for the city limits to find ‘a place where the sun doesn’t set‘. You’ll be convinced that you heard closer, May Hard Times Pass Us By, drifting from the kitchen radio during the summer days spent at your grandparents. While the future facing, I Already Love You, will leaving your mind whirring long after the needle lifts – as Spears ponders the potential quandary of becoming a parent.
A modern classic: Leftovers is a very special debut.
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