Benjamin Francis Leftwich – Gratitude
While there are moments on Gratitude where Benjamin Francis Leftwich's positivity is genuinely very nice to hear, all in all his new album is musically beige and lyrically clichéd
Benjamin Francis Leftwich describes Gratitude as a sort of spiritual awakening for the singer. Throughout the album, his lyrics and atmospheric, whimsical instrumentals reflect his personal awakening and new-found direction. However, on a musical level, we can’t help but feel like he’s travelling down the wrong road.
This album is undoubtedly far more mature than his previous work; he’s come a long way since Atlas Hands (a song that was the socially acceptable soundtrack to a 16-year old’s hangover in 2011). But from the first track this album is over-produced to the point that Leftwich is almost unrecognisable. Unnecessary synthesisers and warped vocal lines feel unnatural and out of place. He’s clearly trying to achieve a contemporary sound, but unfortunately Gratitude dangles aimlessly somewhere between folk and alternative pop. And not in a trailblazing kind of way.
This album serves as a demonstration of the woeful effects that arise out of over-producing acoustic artists. While his previous work wasn’t exactly awe-inspiring, it was at least listenable and heartfelt. It feels as if all of the soul has been squeezed out of Leftwich, although the album is, ironically, pitched as being his most meaningful. It’s packed full with a sense of spirituality that doesn’t deliver, and is at times quite uncomfortable to listen to (see Big Fish or Tell Me You Started to Pray).
While there are moments on this album where Benjamin Francis Leftwich's positivity is genuinely very nice to hear, all in all Gratitude is musically beige and lyrically clichéd. Leftwich would be better to stick to what he does best: playing his acoustic guitar and singing about 1904.
Listen to: Gratitude, Sometimes