Saturday, August 13, 2011

Benjamin Francis Leftwich- Last Smoke Before The Snowstorm

What is the best birthday present one may get? The album of someone you have been following for quite a while.

Pretty much since I have been writing for Ripple, Benjamin Francis Leftwich has popped up in my inbox periodically and I have grown to love him. So, imagine my joy when Racer manages to talk nicely and get me his album!

Last Smoke Before The Snowstorm now sits next to Priory in my favourite albums of this year. Much for the same reasons too- they are both beautifully constructed, connect with me, and have a deeper overall meaning.

Before we start I should just mention Benjamin Francis Leftwich has the most beautiful voice. It is so clear, in tune, just wonderful to listen to and his music just really supports that. I am in no way saying that the music is the background, and could be easily discarded- quite the opposite! You can simply not have one without the other without a feeling of hollowness. It is surprising to realise this is a debut album, because it is so polished- I can see no place for him to make this better next time round.

Every song on the album is amazing, but to avoid sounding like an old record repeating myself constantly, I will take you through a few favourites...

“Butterfly Culture” is a stand out on Last Smoke Before The Snowstorm. With the fingerpicking, sweet guitar, slow movement and lyrics matching up and pulling together a beautiful song. 
“The girl in that dress,
Will undress,
And distress you with the way that she moves”

“Atlas Hands” is what I believe one of the better known songs is, so I thought I would share it with you. (see youtube video)
“I will remember your face
'Cause I am still in love with that place
When the stars are the only things we share
Will you be there?
I've got a plan
I've got an atlas in my hands
I'm gonna turn when I listen to the lessons that I've learned”

“Shine” has a faster pace than the other songs, making it a nice change mid-album. The lyrics don't miss a beat, maintaining the simplicity and elegance.
“That I’m the one who has got your back, now turn around and don’t be sad
I hope you find the love that’s true, so the morning light can shine on you
I hope you find what you’re looking for, so your heart is warm for ever more”

The albums namesake “Last Smoke Before The Snowstorm” is hands down brilliance. The standard elegance in the guitar mixed with a lyrical line that has an honesty in it. It is all polished off with violins that add an extra dynamic to the melody.
“This is this the start
You got a cold heart
Don't you want to spend more time round here?”

Overall Last Smoke Before The Snow Storm is really a wonderful debut from Benjamin Francis Leftwich, it will be interesting to see where he takes things next.


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