The skatepunk sound found on Leiana's second full-length, No Going Back, feels as comfortable to me as an old pair of jeans, and I think most of that has to do with the distorted crunch of Chuck Treece's guitar riffs and the straight-ahead drumming. It's a little bit retro, while remaining modern and fresh.
Neither the instruments nor the production overwhelm Leiana's vocals, leaving her firmly in the forefront. Not that she would be easy to hide. Leiana comes across with an attitude reminiscent of Joan Jett or Deborah Harry, both vocally and lyrically (she co-writes with Treece). Although, having listened to a few YouTube videos from live shows, I have to wonder if some production magic was used to beef up her vocals a bit, since they seemed a little weak in those recordings. She's got the attitude down, but occasionally her voice needs a little support.
I should note that there are two different versions of No Going Back. The copy I have was released last year, and has a different cover and stock number than the version released in September of this year. Both are on Leiana's home-grown indie label, Page Records, so it's unclear to me as to why there are two releases of the same album.
Highlights from the album include the raw and aggressive "2 B Unkind," the cowbell-laden head-bopper "Suffer," and the dark and rich instrumental "Da Vault." The wistfully introspective "Friend" almost makes the list, but the lyrics are just a little too obtuse for my taste, despite the appeal of the musical arrangement.
If you've hit your limit of "Jingle Bell Rock," I suggest giving Leiana's No Going Back a spin. It's a great antidote to cheesy holiday muzak.