Benjamin Francis Leftwich impresses with After the Rain

After the RainYou might not have heard of Benjamin Francis Leftwich, but if you have, you’ll know that he never disappoints. He’s an artist who teeters on the edge of the mainstream – he has over 120,000 Facebook likes, achieves countless radio plays and music reviewers never fail to gush over anything he releases (rightly so). But he's not a household name. Rather like his music, he is understated… Underrated, even. Although he deserves to have his name shouted from the rooftops, Leftwich is not in this business for adulation. The quiet quality of his song writing will tell you that much.

After The Rain delivers everything you’d want from a second album. His debut - Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm – instantly made it clear that Leftwich was far more than just another singer songwriter, complete with an acoustic guitar and enough emotional angst to see them through an entire career. His lyrics were, at one time, hugely personal and raw, but yet beautifully ambiguous. His vocals were haunting and melodies addictive. The follow up is different only in the sense that it pushes further, musically speaking, showing how Leftwich has developed as an artist in the five years since his first album was released. Clearly, he has been anything but idle.

His songs are still subtle, his lyrics are still poignant, and his melodies will still stick in your head for weeks on end - those elements remain resolutely in tact. So what's different? Well, in this latest venture, there's a hint of the electronic which runs throughout the whole album. Acoustic artists daring to explore a world where the synthesiser rules supreme isn't necessarily anything new. But it is notoriously easy to overdo. What's so refreshing about After the Rain is that nothing is overproduced - the synthesiser takes a backseat on this  journey, keeping Leftwich's stripped back sound at the as the main attraction. Everything works together to form the perfect background for his delicate vocals, giving his words an even greater platform on which to stand up and be heard.

Stand out tracks include - but are certainly not limited to - "She will Sing, "Groves" and "Cocaine Doll". In particular, thanks to its dark, eerie vibe, the latter will get under your skin - both melodically and lyrically. It's hard to believe that Leftwich is a completely self taught guitarist. His finger-picking skills are outstanding, and the way in which they support the overall sound of the songs is key to their 'one of a kind' feel.

It's so easy to get lost in this album. The music will make you completely forget where you are. After the Rain was certainly worth waiting for.

Release: 19th August 2016, Dirty Hit

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