Benjamin Francis Leftwich is a twenty one year old English Singer-Songwriter from York. His debut album ‘Last Smoke Before The Snowstorm’ hit shelves recently. Whilst this studio album may be the first time a lot of listeners have heard his music, many will feel familiar with it as he is very reminiscent of the late Elliott Smith.
The main strengths of the album are the lyrics, they aren’t just commercial pop songs – they’re enchanting heartfelt poems and each track tells a story. Comparisons could be drawn with Damien Rice with the way he makes the listener feel as if they are being allowed to share his personal thoughts.
On the technical side of things it is perfection. It isn’t often that you hear a full length CD that relies mainly on lyrics and a guitar, and that is what makes it so good; the simplicity of it whilst still having a good amount of depth to keep fans listening. Songs that really stand out are ‘Atlas Hands’ which keeps to the to the traditional alternative-acoustic feel; and ‘Stole You Away’ which heads for the more soulful folk and blues approach.
The only negative of the album is the length, while ten tracks is usually far more than enough with the typical mass produced album of today – it isn’t enough for this man. This CD will have you playing it on repeat over and over.
I think this album is a yet another reminder that real music is nowhere near dead and may help shed some light on other truly talented underrated artists. It is a must have for fans of people such as Nick Drake, Damien Rice and Elliott Smith, or those interested in the more acoustic genre. Go to a store and buy it, download it, just make sure you listen to it.