The Bay Area has turned into a dreary, foggy wasteland, and I couldn’t be happier about it. It’s ideal tea weather–perfect for sipping Earl Grey in one’s pajamas. Which, incidentally, is exactly what I’m doing right now.
Today is also the release of Communion alum Benjamin Francis Leftwich‘s second EP, Pictures. It’s a lovely, pensive album, and also happens to be the perfect complement to a grey day and a cup of tea. His wispy vocals and gently plucked guitar are reminiscent of other tender singer-songwriters (from Jose Gonzalez to Elliott Smith) and yet still entirely his own. The beautiful single “Pictures” has been floating around the blogosphere (along with covers of When You Were Young by the Killers and Rebellion by Arcade Fire), and is deservedly gaining attention for its simple authenticity. The other three songs on the EP are equally captivating; each emphasizes Benjamin’s considerable talent for nuanced sensitivity.
Though Pictures is a contemplative album, it isn’t melancholic. Produced by Communion co-founder Ian Grimble, it is as understated as other folk albums (say, Sigh No More) are forward, and yet still spans a wide emotional range. There is an undercurrent of optimism in the EP, a sense of hope in its softness. Pictures is as beautiful as a dark, misty day; it inspires the same sort of peaceful self-reflection.
Buy Pictures today in stores and online, and check out Benjamin’s upcoming tour dates, including first US performances at SXSW. And, for kicks, here’s a mellow dubstep/electronica remix of “Pictures”.