Sasha Leonov “Nomad“ (LP)

2023 has provided us with quite an interesting year for music fans on all fronts, and this is especially true in the world of singer/songwriters and their ongoing movement toward the mainstream. Diversity of style and aesthetical influence has transformed from a flash to an all-out explosion in recent times, and with the advent of a new era in pop, singer/songwriters like Sasha Leonov are emerging from the shadows of an underground overwhelmed with incredible talent.



Leonov is no stranger to the stage nor the spotlight – he’s been in the game for close to fifteen years now, and in his new album Nomad, he doesn’t try to play to a specific narrative within his sound so much as he attempts to evolve his artistry. The results are songs like “Not Coming Home,” “Teach Me,” “On That Old Train,” and “Get Up and Go,” each of which could be a star single beside the gorgeous “Ignite” in their own right.

Even though all of this material was recorded inside of a studio, there’s an energy and enthusiasm to the execution we get from Sasha Leonov in performances of the eclectic “Crossroads” as well as more tempered tunes like “Adventure of Our Own” and “Flowers and Fields” is absolutely what I would normally expect out of a live concert. The passion that comes at us from both the lyrics and the harmonies that frame them so personally is undeniably authentic, as referenced by the intimate tone of the storytelling that pushes forth every climax Nomad has to offer. It’s a little rawer than the Always Elsewhere EP was, but in an emotional context (and for what the larger goal here was), I think it should be.

As far as production quality goes, this album has a nice polish that a lot of other indie players might deem a little too poppy to remain relegated to the college dial exclusively, but it’s not as invasive as it could have been. “The Train, it Leaves at Dawn” and “Ignite” spring back into place without a lot of wet reverb lagging behind their verses, while closing salvo “In the Quiet of Night” shamelessly flirts with avant-gardism in spots only to give up its surrealism in favor of the most straightforward lyrics on the album. In its totality, this tracklist is far more rebellious of the mainstream model than it is subservient, and the substance of the composing style confirms as much.

I found out about Sasha Leonov not long ago, but if this is representative of what his sound and musical direction are going to consist of in the future, I’m going to stay on the lookout for more of his content for sure. He’s one of the more unique singer/songwriters applying gentle grooves to otherwise alternative rock melodies, and though this record boasts more balladry than it does bruising beats, it’s a hook-laden treat nonetheless. In short, I’d recommend keeping this artist on your radar – with this LP, he’s earned a spot on mine.

Mark Druery