Singer-songwriters rarely successfully walk the tightrope of critical acclaim and commercial success. Having already secured support from Edith Bowman (BBC Radio 1) and Mark Riley (6Music), Benjamin Francis Leftwich may have the potential to achieve this potent mix.
Live, the most striking impression is how he stretches and elongates key words to lend them an immense poignancy, regardless of subject matters. The lyrics seem to cling desperately to the sides of his mouth before slipping helplessly into the room. Melancholy is not Mr Leftwich's only setting though; “Pictures” displays a charming wit with it's climatic final verse.
You've been around and you've seen / The way that things work / But you need a compass / To get around your house.
Penultimate track of the night, and debut single “Atlas Hands” best demonstrates his understated charm. It results in an eruption of cheers and wolf howls from the crowd, which feel remarkable given the isolation he faces onstage, whilst singing his acoustic laments.
I've got a plan / I've got an atlas in my hands / I'm gonna turn / When I listen to the lessons that I've learned.
On the strength of tonight, it's a plan we'd been foolish to ignore...