Benjamin

Leftwich’s Revival: “After the Rain”

9.6

Benjamin Francis Leftwich’s long-awaited comeback album, “After the Rain,” is nothing short of awe-inspiring, precious and fragile. Since his 2011 debut “Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm,” the New York songwriter had been on a hiatus, dealing with the passing of his father who lost a battle against cancer. Written as a humbling tribute to his father, his latest album unravels his struggle with pain and heartache as well as his path to renewal.

His first track of the album is “Tilikum,” a sustained piece of gauzy melancholy that was also part of his first album released three years ago. Its gentle meandering guitar melody intro perfectly establishes the scene for Leftwich’s vocals in the rest of his songs.

As he reminisces on the times shared with his father, the track continues in a delicate, ghostly fashion, followed by the equally soul-touching song “Some Other Arms.” Every element of his songs, from the female backing vocals with the topline to the light brushwork on the drums, is perfectly executed to sculpt the overall atmosphere of the album.

Leftwich tells of his revival after the passing of the rain and paints a healing landscape that speaks volumes of his capabilities to overcome trials and serves as a testament to his strength and willpower. “She Will Sing” is jam-packed with percussion tunes and melodic vocals that create a vibrant tribal feel. “Mayflies,” a colorful groovy track and my personal favorite, immediately follows “Immortal,” a track with a contrasting mellow, yet dramatic vibe. The upbeat songs are a reflection of his recovery, and the usage of off-beat drums add to the incredible instrumentation. The momentum these songs offer definitely adds vigor and energy to the entire album without sacrificing the constant delicate tone and gentle guitar-plucking Leftwich integrates throughout.

While the album shifts between slow-paced and upbeat songs, the tracks effortlessly flow together and marry the contrasts of ethereal grooves with hymnal folk. So if you’re looking for some tunes to wind down to, give this album a good spin. It’s precious, grounding and oddly rejuvenating.

By Sophia Ding, Scene editor
Photo courtesy of iTunes

The Breakdown


MOOD
9.5
SOUNDS/BEATS
10
LYRICS
9
VOICE
10


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