I expected a lovely full-length from Levek (St. Augustine, Florida's David Levesque) after the enchanting singles "French Lessons" and "Black Mold Grow." Look a Little Closer, with its delicate acoustic guitar patterns and pastel keyboard washes, fulfills that expectation.
If his label, Lefse, is best known for electronic acts, Levek offers more of a singer-songwriter experience, like Nick Drake or "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme"-era Simon and Garfunkel by way of Elliott Smith or fellow Floridian Sam Beam, aka Iron and Wine—but with more of a fusion twist.
An affection for Brazilian music permeates a few tracks, notably the flute-infused "With a Slow Burn" and "Terra Treasures," which rides atop a bossa-nova groove sprinkled with xylophone and trumpet. Then on the instrumental "Muskat Mingle," he turns up the volume, and enters mid-period Miles Davis territory (In a Silent Way, Bitches Brew), an unexpected move that works better than it should (sounds like a Rhodes-plus-congas combination, but I couldn't say for sure). Throughout, Levek sings in sotto voce, letting the music do most of the talking.
There's a sweet and mellow vibe to this stuff, with lyrics about the seaside and "tanning on the roof," that could give more hard-hearted listeners sugar shock, but it offers some of the same pleasures as Air, AM and Shawn Lee, or even Stevie Wonder at his breeziest...dreaming about golden ladies and reggae women ("I'd like to go there..."). Almost makes me want to take a trip to Florida. Almost.
Lefse releases Look a Little Closer today. Stream it at Hype Machine.