Ren breathes new life into '60s chamber pop
As this is not [i]The X Factor[/i], we can dispense with the heart-rending back-story right away. Yes, this young Mancunian singer had an awful accident that nearly immobilised her and delayed the release of this album by a year and, yes, she’s got some powerful supporters in the songwriting camp (Dave McCabe, James Allen, Ed Harcourt, Howie Payne), but that all vanishes when she squares up to the microphone.
Hers is an arresting voice, soft and sweet, but dark in hue and sharp with melancholy, like a vinegar smoothie. She uses it to breathe new life into dusty (as in Springfield) ’60s chamber pop, from the skyscraping Walker Brothers rush of ‘Open Up Your Arms’ to the torch sob of ‘Do Right By Me’ to the Bacharach skippy ‘Holding On’. Retro fetishisms aside, this is an impeccable debut: two feet in the past and one open mouth pointing towards a very bright future.