Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Ian Grimble at 2KHz at Church Studios, Crouch End, London
The first song that you're going to hear here - and it could very well be the first Benjamin Francis Leftwich song that you've ever heard in your life - is one about a person who wishes to be dropped off at the docks, where he wants to board a ship that's heading to the middle of the sea. It's the spot where the water is the deepest and that's needed, for a reason. It seems that there's another passenger on this boat with no name. It could be just as much a ghost ship, as the mysterious passenger becomes a ghost as well.
Leftwich urges that person to just plunge off the deck, into those black and blue waters and "swim til you're free." It's a release. It's setting a rehabilitated animal free, knowing that they're not going to improve any longer, here in captivity, only here, it's a person who likely in nowhere near rehabilitated. It might just be the start of the healing, thought it's hard to tell what's supposed to happen once the boat leaves them to swim away from their travails.
What could seem like a death sentence, in the hands of Leftwich, sounds like a brilliant storybook ending made of magical dust, all tied up with an ambiguous bow and knot. This is what they want. This is what has to happen for total absolution - for everyone. It's a fade away that feels like a hot shower when that's all you really want in the world. Leftwich sings, "People in the churches started singing about their hurts/You said my God is a good God and he cares/And I will remember your face cause I am still in/Love with that place/When the stars are the only things we share/Will you be there?" and it feels telling.
It's indicative of the sentiments that the English songwriter from York brings to the surface often. They are the moral equivalents of just being honest to oneself, being true to the heart that beats obsessively inside you, forcing your every day. It's the easiest thing to blame and it's the one thing you'll never out-race so it's best to just come to terms with it. You're in it together. His songs are about facing oneself and just fessing up, taking the lumps and keeping on. They are about finding love in life and finding life in love, realizing that either and all of those iterations are so very easily spooked. We all just might be better off, boarding that ship without a name, figuring out how to steer it in the direction of the deepest part of the sea and just diving off, swimming off to wherever the waves roll.
Benjamin Francis Leftwich Official Site