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Miracle of Five

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iTunes Review

For album number six, L.A.’s Eleni Mandell got her parts out of the way, recording her guitar and vocals, and then let producer Andy Kaulkin color in the sketches as he saw fit, with a bevy of guests, including X’s D.J. Bonebrake on vibes and noted guitar extraordinaire Nels Cline adding his odd touches (credits include Dobro, lap steel, banjo and “weird sounds”) alongside Mandell’s usual backing group. This intimate approach encouraged Mandell to sing at her softest and the quiet desperation yields a quiet carnival. “Wings In His Eyes” has a carousel’s gait while the instrumental tones are deep and warm. “Make-Out King” and the title track have spooky double-tracked vocals that recall the pensive, luminous drear of Cat Power. Mandell’s also a confessed Tom Waits fan and one hears in her torchiest material (“Moonglow, Lamp Low,” “Perfect Stranger”) romantic touches that befit an admirer of dark nights, while “Dear Friend” sways wistfully. With simple but never simplistic lyrics and gentle, uncomplicated tunes, Mandell never runs out of ways to convey beauty and sadness.

Customer Reviews

Good across the board

Take one drop Norah Jones, minus the schlock. Add two drops Aimee Mann, but better-adjusted. Add a pinch of Neko Case and a dash of something totally unique. Stir. Enjoy.

Smooth, chill album!!!

Read a 5-star review of this album in a magazine & decided to give it a spin. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised. The review was right on. This chick has a silky-smooth voice, clever lyrics, and a great album under her belt. Gonna check out her other stuff...

I wish I could give this record more stars

I don't ever want to spend a day having not listened to "Salt Truck".


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...
Full Bio