Album Review // BENJAMIN FRANCIS LEFTWICH ‘Gratitude’
Dealing with recovery and rehabilitation, Benjamin Francis Leftwich has a lot to be thankful for and we get an insight into his journey throughout these twelve diverse and brave tracks.
We are introduced to the title track straight off the bat. Gratitude feels like a moment to explore just what the title suggests. Taking in the patient build of the track whilst his vocals are as smooth as velvet, it’s the ideal way to be introduced to this compelling artist.
Strong sense of self-awareness is achieved in this group of songs, which is an achievement in itself. Look Ma! ignites some energy that we didn’t know we needed, and it’s hard not to get enthralled by it. It is the first track Ben wrote after checking himself into rehabilitation facility and getting clean and you can hear the beginning of clarity peaking in. You start to get an understanding that this isn’t just about the music, the lyrics are the shining light in these tracks. Like sense of therapy for the York-born, London-based artist.
Starting off harmoniously Big Fish takes us up until two thirds of the track to get into the slower but building drum beats. He takes it in his stride as Tell Me You Started To Pray introduces more strings and pop sensibilities as chorus flourishes with amplified drums and echoing vocals.
Luzern is giving off some Bryan Adam ‘Everything I Do’ vibes with a modern approach. We continue to hear his sound evolving as we step into I Got You, merging organic elements with more recognisable rhythmic guitars. Also like in Real Friends. His lyrics continue to get under the surface and bring a strong sense of emotive exploration.
Blue Dress brings back drum beats and synths with his ever so smooth vocals. The guy can defiantly put together a pop tune and this song is the prime example of it. You can imagine the choir-like singalong in a dimly light hazy venue.
Things start to wind down as we arrive at Miracle Sister and Roísín, as he takes a subtle and raw turn for the better. There are tender moments consistently throughout this album which at first can come across as overwhelming but as you explore these songs more these feelings can become like a comfort.
We end this journey with The Mess We Make and what a way to end our time together. Starting with a simple piano and captivating vocals it is really a moment to sit and take it all in. It feels like he is reflecting on life and all its wonders, like we all do at times. ‘We’ve got to love ourselves before we can love anybody else’.
This album sticks to a strong aesthetic and shows refinement in Ben’s artistry, something not easily accomplished. It feels intimate and personal throughout which is refreshing. He has achieved a lot in a short space of time and covered an abundance of ground. I’m sure there is more to seen from this intriguing artist.