Levek have crafted a little folk gem of an album. It is full of gorgeously composed songs with hints of psychedelia and funk along the way. The band was formed by Orlando-based artist David Levesque. The title instructs us to Look a Little Closer and it indeed feels like an intimate album. The lush production and Levesque’s classic folk vocals makes this album feel like a lost treasure pulled from a crate of ’70s records. While there is a retro feel to the whole endeavour, Look a Little Closer does not sound dated. The playfulness of musical styles from bossa nova to funk keeps things fresh.
The phrase ‘Mickey Mouse Tribalism’ crops up a lot in reference to Levek. This odd jumble of words sounds like the result of a drug-fuelled brainstorming session. It does not accurately describe Levek’s music which is neither cartoonish nor tribal. The album is laidback and soothing, dare I say, easy listening. The phrase seems to have stemmed from the band as Levesque was heavily inspired by Disney music. I can sort of see the Disney influence in Levek as they create a kind of complete sonic world. Look a Little Closer could theoretically be a soundtrack to an old cartoon about English woodland creatures having eccentric adventures.
My favourite songs of the album are the ones that stick closely to the classic folk style. This is where Levek really excel. The achingly pretty “Canterbury Bell” and “Girl in the Fog” evoke other folk greats such as Bert Jansch and Crosby, Stills and Nash. Levesque’s subtle, delicate voice and fine turn of phrase suit the folk style. “Girl in the Fog” showcases Levek’s beautiful finger-picking and some of the most affecting lyrics of the album. Levesque can wring a lot of pathos out of the line “When you are feeling low, do you recall?” If there is one drawback to this album it is perhaps the lack of emotion and passion. The songs drift by in a haze of pretty melodies but there is nothing to grab you emotionally and force you to listen to on repeat. What really stands out is the high level of musicianship. Levek obviously love creating this world of slightly off-kilter folk. “Terra Treasures” sways along to a bossa nova, lounge music melody. “Muscat Mingle” is the liveliest song on the album. It is a funky, world music tune that would not sound out of place on a Dengue Fever album. This mix of musical styles prevents Look a Little Closer from sounding like a mere folk pastiche.
Levek have created a album that won’t rock your socks off but will ease you into autumn. The lush acoustic melodies and regret-tinged vocals reflect the autumnal atmosphere that has descended. The languorous opener “Black Mold Grow” especially seems suited to listening to on headphones while you walk down a leafy path and rain patters on your coat. It must mean that summer is truly over when that sounds appealing to me.