Benjamin Francis Leftwich – In the Open EP

The music of Benjamin Francis Leftwich has a somewhat timeless quality. You can never tell when a song, or songs were recorded and he’s not someone you listen to and go ‘that is so now’.

ben leftwich

2011’s superbly named debut ‘Last Smoke Before the Snow Storm’, despite being caught up in the Ben Howard and Ed Sheeran undercurrent was also a solid effort. His live shows sell out, and few of his modern day contemporaries as comfortable on stage with just one guitar and their own vocals.

And now we come to his new four track EP ‘In the Open’ and the record sounds so organic it could rooted in the country itself.

It encapsulates love, lust, hate and jealousy without ever being any of them. No tracks are ever just a drab love song or scornful remarks about a slutty ex-girlfriend, instead the sinister overtones of the lyrics are more refined. On the seasonal ‘Manchester Snow’ he talks of ‘buying new jeans when you were giving head in the cold of his bed’ the mentioning of head is very rarely anything but vile but here it still sounds sophisticated even with added ambient tones.

‘In the Open’ is not an extension of the debut album, more an extension of his creativity. On the the opening title track there is an odd shuffling sound throughout and some tapped out keys which when singled out could narrate some of the most chilling scenes from The Shining. All this happens underneath ‘Oh baby are you free now, still living for the weekend?’ Which, to me sounds like a very subtle way of saying ‘grow up love.’

‘Break the Day Open’ follows ‘Everywhere we go, from the summer to the snow, we will pave the way, break the day open.’

Closing track ‘Is that you on the Plane’ is the real firework show however, continually building, three minutes in when spontaneous combustion looks certain it withdraws and leaves you wanting more.

Second album, yes please Mr. Ben.

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