taking a listen

by Ryan Snyder


reviews of the moment



THE LEEVES — The Leeves

Sometimes the most affecting records are the ones created out of love, whether it’s for a person, place or thing. The same holds true for Greensboro post-punk revivalists the Leeves, as some of the best moments on their self-titled debut album are inspired by the more subversive elements of their hometown. There’s a lot of really genuine and sometimes downright amazing music to be found within the album, starting with the album’s opener “Radio Greensboro.” It’s a piece that’s redemptive to those who commit to the often thankless labor of love that is being a college radio DJ, and encouraging to those who might have considered it. It begins with audio of a rainfall that leads into a gentle riff recalling the intro to Led Zeppelin’s “The Rain Song,” and the bass line likewise from “The Song Remains the Same.” It evolves into a kind of Dead Milkmen-inspired call-and-response with rattling guitars. “You think no one’s listening to you/We are listening to you,” Jerrod Smith shouts affirmatively. To fully appreciate the album’s opening track “Radio Greensboro,” it’s important to know it’s as much a reference to the trio’s origin as it is a tribute to the town’s vibrant college radio scene. The song shares its name with WUAG’s Sunday evening local music showcase on which the band spontaneously formed to fill a cancelation. The songs were written on the spot and many of which have persisted onto this very recording, a self-produced effort that retains that very spirit of impulsivity. Some songs are more soulful than others, the standout of which is “Carolina Night,” a gracious salutation to the Chapman Street garage inhabited and stewarded by members of the Nondenoms et al. It’s a vital gear in the mechanism of the Greensboro music scene, the very spirit of which is instilled here. There’s an immense amount of sound and feeling contained herein, and as such, it’s essentially where the album suffers. The gargantuan running time — almost 70 minutes of music over 20 tracks if you discount the eight-minute-long closer that’s only ambient noise of the same rainstorm that began the album — shows so many faces of the band that it would only make sense to spread them out over several albums. There are a lot of songs here that demand professional attention and eventual re-release with more polish, but this is clearly a band with the potential to someday arrive at that point.