Something meaningful

<!– Link: Leona Naess

If you’re bored with all these women singer-songwriter types, it’ll be hard to dislike Leona Naess.

Oh sure, she can probably fit nicely on a Lilith Fair bill, but she’s no Jewel, that’s for sure.

Naess eschews the usual heartstring-tugging musical clichés of her contemporaries for a more atmospheric sound akin to a version Mazzy Star that wasn’t psychedlic. Vocally, she possesses a languid, easy-going timbre that manages to keep up with the more rocking numbers on her major-label debut, Comatised. But it’s on the slower, sparser tracks where Naess’ voice shines.

Lyrically, she’s been compared to Joni Mitchell and Liz Phair. Haven’t listened to either artist, so can’t be sure if it’s an accurate comparisson. One thing is for certain — she doesn’t go for melodramatic, chest wringing couplets as badly as Alanis Morissette or Sarah McLachlan. When Naess asks, “Why do I always chase the ones that run?”, she’s definitely not pitying herself.

If anything, Naess takes all the material that’s made the whole “women-in-rock” schtick shallow and makes something meaningful out of it.

The strings on “Northern Star” sound appropriate, not overwrought. The analog drum beat on “Lazy Days” gives the lethargic track some real character. And when the chorus of “Chase” comes crashing between the song’s spare verses, it keeps listeners on their toes.

Comatised is a satisfying debut from a singer who does her feminine rocker colleagues one better.