The eponymous title of Leona Naess' third album reinforces her stated sense of it being more like a first one.

The eponymous title of Leona Naess' third album reinforces her stated sense of it being more like a first one. The sweetly melancholic set is surely more solid overall than her preceding discs, thanks to producer Ethan Johns' unifying textural understatement—a perfect match for Naess' languidly wispy yet enticing vocal. Ever-economic backing ranges from the sorrowful sole piano accompaniment of "Ballerina" to the rockier full-band approach on the succeeding "Dues to Pay," which still retains the often-lovelorn artist's pained expression. But "Leona Naess" is anything but dreary. Songs like the angel-evoking, standout lead track, "Calling," offer reason for hope and bring tuneful melodies that linger in the mind long after the last note.—JB

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