Many of Benjamin Francis Leftwich’s early works can be categorized within the acoustic folk genre. To date, the British solo artist has released two LP’s and a handful of EP’s and singles. In his most recent EP, “I Am With You,” Leftwich’s sound takes a wild departure from tradition as he delves into the realm of autotuned and synth-y pop. Where artists such as Bon Iver have capitalized on this unique sound, Leftwich just can’t pull it off.
The trouble with the four-song EP isn’t solely the change in sound itself, it’s the overall composition of the tracks. Auto tune can enhance a song when used tactfully, but Leftwich really overdoes it, especially on “4AM in London” and “I Am With You.” It also seems that he took too much liberty in experimenting with electronic instrumentation on the latter track. The lyrics are mostly repetitive and uninspiring, with only an occasional line demonstrating any sense of depth.
One such example is the chorus of “Numb,” where Leftwich expresses, “You know that I wanna feel the rain when it hits me.” It is a surprisingly poignant comment about the effects of mental illness on how we experience the world around us. In fact, “Numb” is the only redeeming track on the EP—and even it is not as well-crafted as Leftwich’s previous projects. Experimentation is healthy, but in this case, we must hope that he returns to his tried-and-true sound for future songs.
Recommended If You Like: James Vincent McMorrow, Bon Iver, Hayden Calnin
Recommended Tracks: 3 (Numb)
Do Not Play: 2 (Power Down)
Written by Jaya Chakka on 09/05/2018