Levek

Look a Little Closer

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Levek's David Levesque guides his band's first album Look a Little Closer with a steady and skilled hand. Searching back through the past 40 years of smooth, trippy, autumnal sounds and cherry-picking the perfect elements, the album is an enchanting mix of easy listening psychedelia, sleepy bossa nova, rustic chamber pop, and nocturnal indie folk. Sometimes conjuring up the woodsy ghost of Crosby, Stills & Nash, sometimes weaving a misty spell that feels like a wood cabin-recorded take on Odessey & Oracle and other times operating like a Laughing Stock-era Talk Talk with no budget but a surplus of imagination; the record creeps into your consciousness over repeated plays and takes a firm hold on the center of your brain that wants to hear music that sounds the way burning leaves smell. Levesque corralled a crew of 15 musicians to help him flesh out his vision, and together they fill every available space with sounds, ranging from saxophone solos to clanging bells and back to jazz-influenced bass and whispering clarinets. Levesque's vocals are hushed and romantic, snaking through the gentle mix with a mellow grace, and when doubled or tripled in harmony, sounding like they are wafting out of the window of a Laurel Canyon window back in 1971. Along with the acoustic ballads and bubbling chamber pop tracks (including one amazing track, "French Lessons," that sounds like an unlikely mash-up of Plone, Cardinal, and Herb Alpert) there are a couple instrumentals that don't work quite as well; the tangled web of instruments truly works best with Levesque's voice steering them. The epic length "Solemn Feeling, Forever Healing" is the best combo of instrumental prowess and vocal guidance, stretching over almost seven minutes of gently building waves of sound and murmured hums. Look a Little Closer could have easily been called Listen a Little Closer; the album doesn't immediately grab you, but if given time to spread through you like warm cider on a fall day, Levek's subtle charms will win you over and this album will be one of the first you'll want to reach for to help capture or create a mood of autumnal melancholy.

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