Sound: Burgeoning rock artist Leiana, who has been influenced by the 1970's British punk and SoCal hardcore scenes, is carving out a contemporary niche of her own with Lucky #3. Although it has its punk-driven moments, the record also carries with it a strong pop sensibility that will pay off for her in terms of a wider audience. Recently the young singer released a cover of Lita Ford's "Kiss Me Deadly" (a single not featured on Lucky #3), and it's a fitting choice. Leiana relays the same type of delivery and attitude that The Runaways had back in the day, and there's more than a few tracks on Lucky #3 that do sound like Leiana is a younger, vibrato-less version of Ms. Ford.
Starting out the CD is "Nothing = You," one of the most infectious tracks that is also wisely the first official single. The song is arranged with a similar feel to many of Joan Jett's singles, once again acting as a nod to The Runaways. Undeniably catchy choruses abound on Lucky #3, whether due to an all-around strong melody ("Nothing = You") or echoed lyrics that cry for concert sing-alongs ("Down To You"). There's a certain amount of edginess to arrangements, but in the end these are all tracks that could land steady airplay on a pop or rock station.
The lineup of musicians on Lucky #3 is impressive, with everyone from Smile Empty Soul's Sean Danielson to Anthrax's Rob Caggiano to White Zombie's John Tempesta lending their talents. That being said, don't expect there to be a jaw-dropping amount of instrumentation happening with the tracks. There are some inspired-though-subtle creative moments, but for the most part the usual power chords reign supreme.
In some of the publicity material, there is discussion about the genre-hopping that Leiana does on Lucky #3. The punk genre is always slightly skimmed, but Leiana gets it completely right on "Over," which could go head-to-head with plenty of Bad Religion's material. While most of the 12 tracks do follow a similar pop-punk/rock format, a song like "Day Is Done" dives into alternative country territory. With such a distortion-rich, power-driven sound to most of the CD, "Day Is Done" takes a refreshing turn. "Breathe" is a mellower, more subdued rock offering that takes on a pop/emo sound, but for the most part Leiana thrives within the pop-punk genre. // 8
Lyrics: The attitude present in Leiana's music does carry over to the lyrical content, with many of the tracks bouncing between themes of love-gone-wrong or fighting against authority. Tracks like "Heartless," "Love Don't Matter," and "Suffer" reflect upon soured relationships with an angrier approach than you might get in, say, a pop ballad. Staying true to oneself is the prevalent idea throughout the CD, however, and Leiana does a solid job of rallying the troops in this sense. // 7
Overall Impression: Leiana doesn't stray too far out of the pop-punk realm on Lucky #3, but for an up-and-coming artist, that should serve her well. In the end, the album doesn't feel like a groundbreaking creative venture, but it also doesn't skimp on big, memorable choruses. The themes might not be quite as edgy as some of her punk/rock counterparts, but that's not the selling point of Lucky #3 in any case. Songs like "Nothing = You" and "Suffer" will be stuck in your head after the first listen, and that's pretty powerful effect. // 8