Benjamin Francis Leftwich – Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm
Two warmly-received EPs aside, Benjamin Francis Leftwich is best known for an appearance on Dermot O’Leary’s Saturday Sessions, the radio slot responsible for Athlete’s God Only Knows (egads) and Orson’s take on Hall and Oates (shudder). Leftwich’s Arcade Fire cover was meek, insipid and reminiscent of every acoustic guitarist who’s ever claimed an open mic free pint via a wet ‘reinterpretation’.
Thankfully, his own material is considerably better; what was trite on Rebellion proves affecting here. It’s occasionally a bit O.C. soundtrack, although Leftwich balances out the clichés: when he croons “I’m yours tonight” on Don’t Go Slow, a moody montage of Seth and Summer gurning with desire dances to mind, but lines like “my bones were wrapped around you” locate a more interesting lyrical angle. Musically, a gentle folk waltz reigns uninterrupted, but the likes of Atlas Hands have a redemptive grace, keeping Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm enjoyable throughout. [Chris Buckle]
Playing Glasgow FOPP on 7 Jul and Inverness Belladrum Festival on 6 Aughttp://www.benjaminfrancisleftwich.com