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Album Review: Benjamin Francis Leftwich - Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm * *

The precocious English singer-songwriter -- he's just 21 -- has delivered an assured debut, albeit one that doesn't really get under the skin.

Leftwich's gentle folk ruminations are bound to hoover up a legion of fans, but there's something a little too prosaic about his songs of love, loss and the bits in-between. There's no shortage of twee moments, either -- how about this clanger from Shine: "Hope you find what you're looking for/So your heart is warm forever more."

In places, he reveals himself to be a fine guitarist, capable of coaxing beauty from his instrument, but the lack of variation grates badly midway through as one faintly melancholic song bleeds into the next.

Burn it: Box of Stones

Day & Night