Release Date: Mar 15, 2019
Record label: Dirty Hit
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Benjamin Francis Leftwich is back with his own particular brand of reflective and deeply poignant music, following a three-year-break. The first noticeable thing about Gratitude is its significant slowdown from Leftwich's previous work: and perhaps not in the most positive way. Having checked himself into rehab following the hectic schedule that accompanied the promotion of his second album, After the Rain, this album is deeply entrenched within that particular chapter of life for the singer, and I think everyone that listens to this record within that context will get the impression of the feelings and struggles which Leftwich had during this time.
This quietly experimental third album sees the York-born singer-songwriter explore a personal reckoning over hushed beats and woozy folktronica Pitched as a sort-of British Bon Iver, York's Benjamin Francis Leftwich makes ethereal acoustic-led contemporary folk music that lays synth melodies and even the occasional dapple of vocoder over his finger-picked ditties. This third record, following a set of reimagined versions of beloved indie songs (Arcade Fire's 'Rebellion (Lies)' and The Killers' 'When You Were Young' among them), deals with personal reckonings as he's sought sobriety. READ MORE: Benjamin Francis Leftwich talks new album 'Gratitude', overcoming personal struggles and working with Dirty Hit "The moonlight made me a liar / And the sunlight made me strong", he whispers on album highlight 'Luzern', a beat-led track that showcases his ability to layer textures and sounds for emotional resonance.
There are few artists with a voice as lovingly dependable as Benjamin Francis Leftwich. His wispy, Elliott Smith-eque delivery instantly set him aside when the timeless 'Last Smoke Before The Snowstorm' arrived back in 2011. Luckily, his third album 'Gratitude' is equally enchanting. If his debut evoked scenes of a warm log cabin in the pines, 'Gratitude' is sonically richer, modern sounding at points.