"It’s that struggle, and the artful articulation of it, which makes Left and Leaving such an important record for Winnipeg, and an insight into the experience of living in such isolation. Samson even comes straight out and defines the album’s main contradiction in very simple terms on “This is a Firedoor (Never Leave Open)”: “I love this place, the enormous sky, and the faces, hands that I'm haunted by, so why can't I forgive these buildings, these frameworks labeled "Home"?” The album swims through this theme effortlessly, balanced by straight-up power-pop (“Aside,” also featured on the Wedding Crashers soundtrack, FYI), heavy “loud-quiet-loud” rock ‘n’ roll (“Exiles Among You”), and quiet, sparkling poetry (“History to the Defeated”).
"But for all its heaviness and conflict, the album’s quiet climax, “My Favourite Chords,” provides a snapshot into the creativity Winnipeggers use to deal with and forget about the isolation and the doldrums. Samson asks a girl to meet him after work at a construction site to tape notes to the heavy machines, “and bring your swiss-army knife, and a bottle of something, and I'll bring some spray paint and a new deck of cards.” It’s a reminder that no matter what might make it self-destruct, it’s still the people beside you in the city and the people haunting it that make it worth living in or unbearable. And we’re left to wonder at the end, as he asks her, “sing me a story I haven’t heard yet,” whether or not they meet that night, if one’s left and one’s leaving."