Slipping out of the silence like a fleeting whisper in the spring wind, “Adventure of Our Own,” from Nomad, the new album from singer/songwriter Sasha Leonov, begins to carry us away with its dreamy melodies. There’s a sense of unreal indulgence in the air as Leonov begins to sing, but it’s ironic as there aren’t a lot of instrumental elements colliding together at this juncture of the track. As we press on, the intensity swells and we soon find ourselves amid a melodic pop symphony as powerful as an ocean tidal wave. “Ignite” will take us in a more conventionally smooth direction before turning us over to “Get Up and Go,” but in this opening cut, it’s made clear just how epic a performance we’re in for in Nomad.
“On That Old Train” takes a second to warm up, much like the material preceding it in the tracklist, but once it’s cooking to the cavalier groove that serves as the song’s beat, it’s awfully difficult to resist synchronizing our hips to the rhythm of the music. “Not Coming Home” gets sensuously melodic and spikes the chills factor through the roof ahead of the hard-hitting jam of “Crossroads,” which despite running a rather unpredictable total length (at least from my perspective) still feels like one of the leaner compositions on the whole of the record. Size can matter in this genre, but in this scenario, it’s relative to the lyrical lashings this player is allowing to get through to the surface.
If it’s straight-up pop-wit that you’re craving this spring, “Teach Me” is probably going to be your favorite song in this tracklist, while “Ignite” is perhaps the lone throwback to vintage alternative pop you didn’t know you needed to make your spring playlist perfect. As we get into this latter act in Nomad, there’s a lot more of a self-aware theme to the lyrics, but while compositions like “Still the Fire” look inward poetically, the melodies they produce are anything but insular. That’s what makes “Flowers and Fields” and “The Train, it Leaves at Dawn” so brilliant and, more than anything else, the only proof I’ll ever need of Sasha Leonov’s eminence as both an indie singer/songwriter and a millennial music maker devoted to passion over purity.
“In the Quiet of Night” brings Nomad to a conclusion with a venomous melodic sting that left me shaken at first, only to revisit the track a second time around and fall in love with its blunt admissions. As an artist, Sasha Leonov approach this latest installment in his discography without having a whole lot left to demonstrate to critics like myself – which let him produce an album that is essentially all about his internal struggle to reconcile one half of his artistry with another. Instead of sounding jagged, scattered, or split into separate bastions of poetic ranting, Nomad is a culmination of aesthetical growth that wouldn’t have been possible at the start of this player’s career. This is a watershed moment for his campaign as a solo player, and easily a listen I would recommend to fans of indie singer/songwriters worldwide.