Benjamin Francis Leftwich – Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm

      Jon O’Brien: “…Benjamin Francis Leftwich couldn’t have picked a better time to unleash, or rather quietly release, his subtle and understated brand of acoustic balladry. Produced by Ian Grimble (Manic Street Preachers), his debut album, Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm, won’t exactly be challenging for the most inventive record of the year award, dominated as it is by the kind of winsome stripped-back arrangements that seem designed for mobile phone adverts and emotional U.S. teen drama soundtracks. But its rather unique autobiographical lyrics …, hushed Elliott Smith-esque vocals, and flashes of Americana (“Stole You Away”), Celtic folk (the gorgeous title track), and swooning alt-country (“Atlas Hands”) suggest the 21-year-old might be able to make his voice heard among the rather overcrowded scene. Indeed, its simplistic subdued nature, signified by the enchanting opening trio of the gently plucked “Pictures,” the seafaring theme and ethereal female backing vocals of “Box of Stones,” and the haunting Fleet Foxes-style harmonies of “1904,” may struggle to make a lasting impression at first, but their melancholic harmonies, lovelorn tales, and sparse acoustics slowly reveal their charm with each repeated listen. The one-paced feel of the album does begin to wear thin toward the end, while the slim 30-minute running time suggests Leftwich was perhaps beginning to running out of ideas, but as a gentle and downtempo antidote to the blustering nu folk of Mumford & Sons, Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm is a charming if resolutely old-fashioned record that — despite its title — sounds tailor-made for hazy late summer nights.”

 

Benjamin Francis Leftwich – Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm Tracklist

1) 0:00- “Pictures”
2)3:06- “Box of Stones”
3)6:10- “1904”
4) 10:18- “Butterfly Culture”
5)13:36- “Atlas Hands”
6)16:09- “Stole You Away”
7)19:34- “Shine”
8)22:40- “Snowship”
9) 25:00-“Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm”
10) 28:00- “Don’t Go Slow”

Benjamin Francis Leftwich - Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm

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