Singer/songwriter Leona Naess left behind her treasured New York City for Los Angeles when it came to record her third album. She and producer Ethan Johns wanted to get back to basics for her third self-titled release and, instead of working in large studio, the two retreated to a warm, homely place they named Alley Studios. In lieu of that slick, electronic sound that was prominent on 2001's I Tried to Rock You But You Only Roll, Naess formed a three-piece band consisting of herself on guitar, Johns on drums, and Richard Causon on piano for her most beautiful material to date. Naess is a vocal darling and Johns accents her smoky, inviting vocals with a simple orchestration of strings and acoustic guitars. Leona Naess is rich in organic tones, which are surrounded by love's many colors. Naess is in love with love and the album itself floats on that theme. She casts love in a fresh, new light despite having her heart broken on occasion and breaking a few hearts herself, and the 11-song set is split to reflect love's many idiosyncrasies. From the piano-driven "Dues to Pay" and the soft bounce of "He Is Gone," Naess figures out that the most perfect love is of the mind. Letting go of unhealthy love is sometimes painful, but this album allows that to be an OK thing. Naess makes it easy to breathe regardless of the situation. "It's Called Desire" is evident of that with its warm embrace, while glorious feelings soaked in bass drops and woodwinds dance on "Home." Naess was conscious in getting things just so with this record and such an effort resulted in some of her most realized work yet. Her confidence blossomed this time around and vocally, she's never sounded so good. When it comes down to it, Leona Naess sings about what most everyone wants to find: love sweet love.
AllMusic Review by MacKenzie Wilson