David Levesque, aka Levek, first grabbed attention in 2009 when he put up a selection of demos online. Since then, he relocated to Florida where (after a short period of working as a bus driver) he spent more time working on his sound before recording his debut album, Look A Little Closer.
Even though this was recorded in a studio, the results are anything other than slick or polished. For the majority of Look A Little Closer, the overall sound is very soft and quite comforting. Nearly all of the 10 songs feel as light as a feather and had you not known the facts about its creation it would be easy to assume that this was recorded in Levesque’s bedroom.
With A Slow Burn, arguably the most well-constructed moment on the LP, is a piece of beguilling acoustic balladry; its roots are firmly entrenched in folk but it also has percussion that skitters around the gentle guitar plucking and towards the end the song itself begins to slowly add more sounds to the mix. It’s an irresistably dreamy five minutes. Another standout is Black Mold Grow, a piece of psychedelic pop that wonderfully glides through all manners of dynamics with ease; it starts with bright piano chords, builds its layers up accordingly before deconstructing itself to the point where it’s ambient.
There are other nice flashes to be found. St Francis is a brisk two-minute ditty with some pleasant harmonising whilst the chirpy keyboards benefit the airy album closer French Lessons in a big way. Terra Treasures is a straight-up bossa nova tune, even though it treads a fine line between groovy and escaltor music. Can’t Buy This Love sounds, rather bizarrely, like an outtake from Air‘s sessions for Moon Safari, right down to its vocoder vocals. It’s a decent listen and one that instills a sense of calm and tranquility.
Ultimately, the main problem that prevents Look A Little Closer being more than just a curiosity is that there isn’t enough songwriting muscle behind it. Whilst the overall tone may give off a laid-back vibe, it starts to become apparent that after a few repeat listens there isn’t too much left to explore and little in the way of memorable tunes to come back to. The best moments, for all the experimentation, are actually the ones when it’s all about Levesque’s harmonies and his guitar. The aforementioned With A Slow Burn is the only track where the balance of melody and texture is impeccable, although the lovely Girl In The Fog also comes pretty close.
Levek clearly has an electic and interesting method of constructing music. If he can place more focus on songcraft, his tunes will soar majestically; but at the moment there’s not a lot under the surface to make him anything other than intriguing.