2008-09-24With the opening track, Ghosts in the Attic, Leona Naess offers up the essence of what we find throughout her fourth full-length recording Thirteens - thoughtful songwriting coupled with some interesting and catchy melodies. Undoubtedly, Naess' move into the more subdued tone that we find here compared to some of her earlier recordings can largely be attributed to losing both her major label as well as her father in recent years. While the recording gets off to a good start, this isn't to say that all is well and good as a few of the songs seem to meander along in places. For instance Learning As We Go seems to be this way to some extent as it simply plods along while Not the Same Girl seeks to create a Lo-Fi sound but is mostly an uninteresting track that doesn't seem to work here. However, with the other tracks that seem to offer enough diversity in both sound and lyrical content, Naess has arguably done quite well here. With the single Heavy Like Sunday released earlier in the year, Naess offers us a quiet, thoughtful perspective on her desire to leave behind the past ("let's leave the dark days behind") and move forward in the present. Another standout track is the melodic Shiny on the Inside that seems reminiscent of what we might hear from a Feist recording as it seeks to call attention to our need to look beyond outward appearances. Still, my favorite track on this recording is Un-Named - A catchy pop song that in my view deserves many listens simply because it sounds good. Overall, Naess gives her listeners a well-thought out recording that, while sad at times, offers a poignant look into the perfect mess that reality oftentimes is. ~ By Jeff Bouma
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