Album Review : Benjamin Francis Leftwich - Last Smoke Before The Snowstorm

Acoustic stillness that moves

Remnants of the night before still in your blood stream? No fear, Benjamin Francis Leftwich of York, UK, will soothe your throbbing head.

A sound for every aching bone, melodies to flutter across voids and ease each injury inside and out. Here we have bare-bones acoustic, stripped back to the roots to pierce the silence in a set of heart-grabbing compositions.

On 'Butterfly Culture' think Joshua Radin's furtively delivered vocals, with similarly emotionally stark composing style, and tastes of Air. Leftwich drops in the odd elegant violin solo, wooden percussion with '1904' and often fleshes out vocals with multiple voices giving a fuller sound. Lo-fi, chillout, acoustic - Leftwich cites Arcade Fire as a major influence, as well as Ryan Adams and Bruce Springsteen.

'Box of Stones' is the first single from Leftwich's debut full length album that demonstrates gentle melodic themes that run throughout the record. 'Shine' and 'Snowship' have a slightly different pop-melodic warmth and almost upbeat tempos.

Despite melodic and stylistic similarities between tracks, this acoustic album has the unusual quality of not getting dull, providing you are in the mood for it - driven, as it is, by emotion, picture postcard beauty and intriguing lyrics. One of the best lines comes at the close of 'Pictures': 'you've been around and you've seen the way that things work, but you need a compass to get around your house.'

Last Smoke Before The Snowstorm is out now through Dirty Hit. / Benjamin Francis Leftwich

Benjamin Francis Leftwich - Pictures by Mud Hut Digital
Benjamin Francis Leftwich - Atlas Hands by Authority Communications