Leviride Nothing's Getting Better

On their ten-song debut, Toronto’s Leviride demonstrate a knack for endearing emo and power pop arrangements, which would be grand if said arrangements weren’t hampered by some fairly bombastic vocals. It’s fair to say that the band has picked up on the same Superchunk frequency that caught the Weakerthans’ collective ear, as Leviride successfully employ a peppy punk-to-blistering rock dynamic that is artfully reigned in by producer Stephen Pitkin (the Meligrove Band, Elliott Brood). Unlike John K. Samson’s unique deadpan phrasing, however, vocalist Paul Lahey often employs a melodramatic yowl that occasionally resembles Morrissey — on a particularly bad day. The Smiths influence floats in and out on songs such as "And Then I Depart” and "Juxtaposition,” both of which are saved when Lahey’s vocals are swallowed up by the band’s intense instrumental builds. When Lahey’s voice gels with the band’s powerful music, Leviride recall a mid-period Shudder to Think that might find welcoming ears among fans of emo-influenced indie rock, but those wary of male, lead-singer posturing are advised to stay away. (Northern Light)