HomeMusicSasha Leonov’s Powerful “Nomad” LP

Sasha Leonov’s Powerful “Nomad” LP

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Though it’s hardly the only reason to examine the song, the piano keys that guide us through the slow-churning rhythm of “In the Quiet of Night” is one of my favorite features in this track and all of the material in Sasha Leonov’s powerful Nomad LP. Over fourteen years after releasing his first record, Leonov is back in the headlines again in 2023 with a fearlessly intimate effort peppered with potential hits in “Ignite” and “The Train, it Leaves at Dawn” just to name a couple of signature works, and from where I sit, you’d be a fool to dismiss it as anything other than required listening this month. 

The beat does a lot to increase the tension in “Teach Me,” “Still the Fire,” and “Get Up and Go,” but catharsis is never an element that’s very far away from Leonov in this record. He’s careful to couple every dark moment with a bit of light at the end of the tunnel, and although he’s not muting any of his angst in favor of glossing over the pain with pop varnish, he doesn’t spend a ridiculous amount of time in self-pity, either. In other words, his confessions are conservative in style but authentic and unadorned with filler. 

Nomad has the tightest mixing of any album this artist has released in his career so far, and I think it was necessary for us to appreciate all of the detail in the music. From a distance, “Crossroads” and “Not Coming Home” are a lot more cut-and-dry than they are from a compositional standpoint, and while his goal probably wasn’t showboating any specific component of his skillset, it’s hard to ignore the melodic muscle flexing Sasha Leonov engages in from one song to the next. I find it charming, and I think most listeners will be inclined to share my sentiments. 

The sharp harmonies that drive “On That Old Train,” “Still the Fire,” “Flowers and Fields,” and lead single “Ignite” have a very surreal edginess, but I don’t think I would chalk up the accent to an attempt at fitting in with an underground trend. Truth be told, there isn’t anything in this record that sounds forced or sewn together in a bid for acceptance from Leonov’s peers; if this were the case, I just don’t know that he would be as vulnerable in the lyrics we hear in this tracklist. 

Try as you might, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find another album quite like the one Sasha Leonov has just released this May, and I don’t think I’m going to be the only critic to tell you as much before the year is over. Nomad grants us an up close and personal access pass to a deeper layer of its composer’s persona than we had been privy to in the past, and even if you weren’t into his music before coming across this LP, it has the potential to make a lifelong fan out of you after the most cursory of uninterrupted listening sessions. 

Heather Savage

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