Leeway is an incredibly unique and influential NYHC band, there's no doubt about that. Almost any all-time "best of" NYHC list would include thrash metal-infused hardcore classics Born to Expire or Desperate Measures (if not both). And with good reason: Born to Expire boasts slammin', energetic anthems like "Mark of the Squealer," "On the Outside," "Enforcer," and many more; while the chunky grooves of Desperate Measures, my personal favorite, make almost every track an instant classic ("Make Me an Offer," "Kingpin," "Who's to Blame," and so on).
But, as I've said before, all of their albums deserve to be championed. While 1994's Adult Crash marked an enormous stylistic shift for the band—one that many fans frown upon to this day—there's still some killer material to be found on those later records. Vastly different, yes, but still great.
So, if you've been deterred from taking the post-Desperate Measures plunge, here are five songs that should encourage you to reconsider checking out all that Leeway has to offer…
"3 Wishes," from Adult Crash (Futurist, 1994)
"3 Wishes" rocks kind of a laidback flow. The insanely catchy chorus alone—with those ringing melodies and an emotional vocal performance from Eddie Sutton—makes this one of my all-time favorite Leeway tracks. And that distant hum of feedback that hangs around after the solo? Such a cool, subtle touch…
"You," from Adult Crash (Futurist, 1994)
Another all-time favorite of mine from the Leeway discography, "You" rides a badass, pumpin' groove with sleek, arpeggiated melodies and another stellar chorus. Jimmy Xanthos nonstop hammers those basslines, too—with one of the most incredible bass tones ever, no less!
"Product," from Open Mouth Kiss (Fierce, 1995)
"Product" takes all of the above—slick, dissonant melodies; raging, prominent bass runs; yet another golden, sing-along chorus; etc.—and balls it up into a fast-paced, high-energy burst. Flawless.
"Hornet's Nest," from Open Mouth Kiss (Fierce, 1995)
Right off the bat: how can you argue with that groove!? Pokey really shines on this one by laying the groundwork for that bounce, and dishin' out loads of flashy cymbal work, too. When that perfectly dirty bass pretty much takes over after the solo, "Hornet's Nest" becomes a master class on rhythm section tact.
"Foot the Bill," from Open Mouth Kiss (Fierce, 1995)
A little more aggressive than the other tracks herein, I suppose, "Foot the Bill" displays a wide range of textbook post-hardcore guitar work from A.J. Novello. Tons of post-hardcore bands were gettin' love in the '90s (and beyond), so why do so many people still bash Leeway for their take on it!?
As a "bonus track," I can't help but shout out "The Old Man of Sorrows," too. Another cut from Open Mouth Kiss, this simple, repetitive, three-minute instrumental is a truly beautiful piece that capture a shocking amount of feeling. Well worth checking out, and so underrated, in fact, that it's not even on YouTube!?
Born to Expire and Desperate Measures fuckin' smoke, without question. I'm not tryin' to argue that Adult Crash and Open Mouth Kiss are on that same level of legendary brilliance. But, please, don't believe all the hate: they're both fantastic records that still hold up today!