With the emo/grunge thing well past the point of saturation, you have to be something special to stand out from the heaving throng. There’s enough about Leatherneck (formerly known as Bohica) on ‘Lighting Up The Tilt Sign’ to suggest they could be ones to follow with a close eye.
What sets Leatherneck apart is the bold adoption of shoegaze and new-wave indie, melding their obvious reference points (Basement, Title Fight etc etc etc) into something genuinely exciting. There’s the metronomic, monochrome atmospherics of Joy Division, the big fuzzy guitars that are prime Mudhoney, and some real displays of urgency and aggression that come straight out of the post-hardcore playbook, transforming their wall of sound into a thundering juggernaut. Throw in some swirling My Bloody Valentine style arrangements and you can see Leatherneck are painting from a broad palette.
Of course, the challenge is to bring all these disparate parts together into a cohesive and engaging sound, and Leatherneck certainly provide a good account of themselves on cuts such as ‘Stained Blue’ and ‘Autumn Walls’. Atmospheric and moody yet with a ferocious, galaxy-swallowing sound, they make songs sound simultaneously intimate and personable yet grand in scope and style. It’s a difficult balancing act, but one that they execute superbly. Elsewhere, ‘Minerals’ crackles with verve and energy, especially when it kicks into overdrive, while ‘Coma’ shows the group’s ability to check the speedometer, slow things down and wallow in the doom-laden ether.
The result is an EP that is very much more than the sum of its parts. Where Leatherneck go next is really up to them – ‘Lighting Up The Tilt Sign’ has given the North West mob a broad platform from which to build – but they’re well placed to reinvigorate a genre that is in desperate need of a shot in the arm.
’Lighting Up The Tilt Sign’ by Leatherneck is released on 5th August on Close To Home Records.
Words by Rob Mair (@BobNightMair)