6 Jun 2013

Levek "Look A Little Closer" Review

Reviewed by Jason Simpson

At the time of its release, some critics (http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/17194-look-a-little-closer/) were unduly harsh, condemning David Levesque as a chillwave knock-off, a Bibio clone, a copy of a copy, forever losing fidelity. A lot of critics seem to think that something has to be brand new and unheard of for it to be valid. It is this endless march of progress that is drowning our rivers and valleys in toxic sludge and McDonald's wrappers. Perhaps we should pause the progress, and consider where we're coming from.

Davis Levesque's, the driving force behind Levek, goal creating his debut release for Lefse Records, was to "make an album that I've always wanted someone to make. Something that I would enjoy listening to." This purity of purpose irradiates every moment of Look A Little Closer; Levek use every sound imaginable from the last 50 years to make a dense, masterful, personal statement. Mainly drawing from sounds mostly outside of the rock vernacular; Bossa Nova, British Folk, Spy Music, Look A Little Closer is an alternate reality frozen at sunset, an essential reprieve from the post-modern clamor, where you can just hang and swing in a hammock for an hour. 

The skill and care with which this record was assembled becomes obvious, when you really stop and listen. Every track teems with percussion, flutes, vintage keyboards, and vocal harmonies. Lefse Records described Look A Little Closer as "the amalgamation of the tenderness of Bridge Over Troubled Water and the funky 70s Blaxploitation attitude." If you like sweet, soulful pop music, you will drool over this gem, and if you're only interested in the next, best thing, you will most likely miss the point. 

The two folkiest numbers on here, 'Canterbury Bells' and 'Girl In The Fog', are the aces in the hole, showing what Levesque and cohorts are capable of, drawing you in, forcing you to pay attention and to care. Delicate finger-picked guitars waltz and swoon with cooing vocal harmonies; clearly there is amazing songwriting and musicianship at work here, and that's what we're looking for, right? Once you're invested, the record unfolds like a Morning Glory at dawn, revealing its intricacies, its warm beating heart. 

There is not a note out of place on here, nothing to break the psychotropical reverie. Look A Little Closer is a modern pop masterpiece, perfect for those that miss Broadcast or Stereolab. It will leave you gasping for Astrud Gilberto and Getachew Mekuria LPs, as well as pulling out those High Llamas records you forgot about. 

This record was originally released in the Autumn, so the time is right for you to re-discover this obscure gem. 

Absolutely, stunningly essential. 

Available here on CD, and here on vinyl.

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