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No Going Back

Leiana

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Album Review

On No Going Back the Philadelphia-based duo at the heart of Leiana — the singer herself and noted session musician Chuck Treece — continue to kick up an enjoyable blast of briskly trashy (in the best possible sense) punk/pop that nods as much to hardcore antecedents and thrash metal twists as to girl group sass and biker/garage kicks. Leiana's singing is enjoyable, not yet legendary perhaps but it suits the material and she delivers the all-fired-up sentiments of songs like "Couldn't Tell" and the title track, which stomps along with such a brusque punch at the start it's a perfect rock epic before another note or word is performed. Meanwhile, Treece's guitar playing in particular has the rough, trebly kick of classic early-'80s D.C. punk — opening "2 B Unkind" could be a Bad Brains song drop-kicked into the future — while taking advantage of his studio knowledge to add extra punch to it all. The wound-tight-as-hell riffing on "Whichside," especially towards its end, deserves a particular nod. The occasional variations on the form never hurt either, thus the cowbell-laden (no Saturday Night Live jokes please) swing of "Suffer" and the slower grind and swing of "Bitter," which Leiana delivers in a way that almost calls to mind a less-dance-oriented Curve. Meantime, the concluding instrumental "Da Vault" is an interesting final touch, suggesting nothing so much as a late-'80s Cure number, mixing a gently psychedelic atmosphere with steady beats and a mournful guitar. Wasting no time and having a blast on its own terms — it's barely longer than half an hour — No Going Back is good stuff.

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No Going Back, Leiana
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