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Leona Naess
LEONA NAESS
(MCA)
Stars graphics

Each previous producer had an idea for how Diana Rossís globetrotting stepdaughter ought to sound. Scott Litt heard a stylized, chic urban folkie à la Beth Orton for her debut, Comatised (MCA, 2000); Swedish svengali Martin Terefe envisioned a breathy pop star re-energizing the radio with the guitars and synths that once belonged to Blondie for the follow-up, I Tried To Rock You But You Only Roll (MCA, 2001). Now itís Leona Naessís turn, and sheís trusting anti-auteur Ethan Johns not to twiddle the knobs too intensely.

In the same way that he provided ample space for Ryan Adams and returned the Jayhawks to their roots, Johns keeps the surroundings sparse here, taking a cue from the sophisticated pages of the Norah Jones folkbook. Naess is now a convincing smoky chanteuse who can be poignant and clever ("Donít Use My Broken Heart To Pick Up Other Girls" is a perceptive womanís rebuke to loneliness) with a penchant for wine-induced romantic evenings of reflection. Whether itís a catchy pop tune ("Calling") or a gently orchestrated swan song ("One Kind of Love"), she sings with the assurance of a woman whoís finally found a sound to call home.

BY ROB OíCONNOR


Issue Date: August 15 - August 21, 2003
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