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Album Review

With Afternoon, L.A.-based jazz-pop chanteuse Eleni Mandell builds a soulful, seductive album around sparse accompaniment and straightforward song compositions. Her smoky voice attests to her spirit on "Can't You See I'm Soulful," in which she confronts a lover who treats her badly, as if she's "easy." "Treat me like I'm heavy," she insists, and Mandell does get heavy lyrically, like when she falls for the character in "American Boy." As she intones "Hands will come together, gloveless," it's equal parts sensuality and subtle sexuality. Ditto for the upbeat title cut, which finds her eager to assume the role of mistress, and although the retro-feeling tune is remarkably delivered, it gets bested by "Easy On Your Way Out." Here, the singer/songwriter gives her strongest vocal performance, as she passionately croons of a fair-weather boyfriend. Assisted by producer/multi-instrumentalist Joshua Grange, bassist Ryan Fees, and drummer Kevin Fitzgerald, Eleni Mandell goes deep into her heart on Afternoon, and it's a warm and elegant experience. ~ John D. Luerssen, Rovi


Born: Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Singing and writing in a style that fuses vintage barroom cool with a here-and-now intelligence and faintly ironic wit, Los Angeles hipster Eleni Mandell initiated her recording career with arty-cool albums packed with her smoky, noir-ish sketches. Mandell, who was a huge fan of L.A. punkers X and beatnik revivalist Tom Waits in her teens, was raised in the Sherman Oaks region of the San Fernando Valley, and began performing out during her years as a student at Berkeley. Soon after, she fell under...
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