Sasha Leonov’s “Nomad”

When a musician manages to release a few well-received LPs throughout their career, history tells us that everything we need to learn about the depth of the player’s craft can be found in the tracklist of the first and last of this set. Enter Sasha Leonov’s Nomad; in his latest release, the noted singer/songwriter is committed to making sure that the very notion of holding back from the audience is off of the table from the moment we get started in “Adventure of Our Own” forward.

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Swagger is an essential ingredient to the delivery of the personal statements of self Leonov will unleash in tracks like “Crossroads,” “Not Coming Home,” or “Still the Fire,” but never does it become such a potent force that it verges on arrogance, as if there’s one thing you won’t find in this LP, it’s overt arrogance. There’s a lot this cat is unpacking here; “Get Up and Go” feels like a short-circuited confession that could only be beautiful through the fragmented lens of pop melodicism, while “Flowers and Fields” scoff at repetitive indulgences of poetry with something tonally efficient and, quite honestly, brutishly brooding as a result. There’s no stone he’ll leave unturned on this quest to be heard, and for my money, it amounts to a can’t-miss performance if I’ve ever heard one before.

While others in his medium have been adopting a minimalist approach to creating rhythm-focused harmonies, I love the grandeur of the previously mentioned “Flowers and Fields,” chief single “Ignite,” and shy “The Train, it Leaves at Dawn.” Instrumentally, the tonality of the strings are contextualizing the spirit of the lyrics in these songs while giving us the chance to interpret them in several different ways, which is something that I’ve seen a lot of artists try to do but few actually succeed at, and even though I would have put “In the Quiet of Night” ahead of the trio we start with here, the overall fluidity of the tracklist is magnificent. It’s clear that Sasha Leonov is nowhere near completion concerning his evolutionary path as a songwriter, but while some areas of his sound could still use some refining, it’s rather special to be able to say so about a player who is already well over a decade and a half into his professional life.

Weighty but endearing on several different and unique levels, Sasha Leonov’s Nomad is a smashing listen that I think a lot of alternative singer/songwriter fans are going to hold in high regard this spring season. Though he’s been involved in this line of work long enough to be called a veteran, this singer/songwriter sounds like he is still very excited about the future and what challenges and accomplishments it could potentially bring his way, and if there were any doubts about his staying power before the arrival of this most recent LP, I think they’re going to be put to bed as Nomad finds an audience all its own. This Aussie is working with a lot of raw talent, but here, he makes it known to anyone listening just how much he’s able to do with his skillset.

Chadwick Easton

Music

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