Leiana - No Going Back (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


No Going Back (2007)


Occasionally, a musical collaboration happens where you could hardly imagine the parties involved ever making music without each other. Leiana is one such collaboration, as the compositions supplied by multi-instrumentalist Chuck Treece provide impeccable support for the vocal abilities of Leiana.

On the whole, No Going Back is a glossy-produced record mixing post-grunge alterna-rock, classic hard rock, and skatepunk riffage that is high on attitude. The problem with that is none of those sounds are particularly original or even fresh so the songwriting is going to have to be pretty impressive to make up for it. From a lyrical standpoint, a good deal of the material is vague posturing or half-baked shouted phrases. Songs like "2 B Unkind" and "Me Again" end up coming off as the sort of thing a soccer mom might listen to on her way to pilates to look rebellious in front of her preteen spawn. The distorted bass that propels "Whichside" helps to properly convey the attitude that Leiana tries hard to put forth which is hindered by slightly too clean production in other places on the record.

Considering the approach used on the good majority of the songs is pretty uninteresting, you might think it safe to write the whole thing off completely. Yet, Leiana and Treece are able to pull a few unexpected tricks out of their bag to prevent the proceedings from becoming a complete insomnia cure. While the lyrics are somewhat heavy-handed in "Friend," the dynamic between the lightly plucked guitar fading in and out on the verses and raging chorus borrows from classic post-hardcore with surprising success. Though Treece really knows how to craft music suited for Leiana's voice, the most successful song on the album is the instrumental closer "Da Vault," which exemplify his own talents and makes you wish he had gotten a tad more adventurous on the rest of the tracks.

The only straight-ahead rock song on the album that is really worth listening time is "Suffer" because of its infectious hook; unfortunately, they can't seem to sustain that formula as the rest isn't really memorable. Instead of trying to unsuccessfully "rawk" the listener for a whole album Leiana might want to try and let Treece experiment with their sound. Also, it is pretty hard to take an artist seriously when using slanguage like "B" instead of "be" and "Da" instead of "the," which is a shame because they really have a number of redeemable qualities.