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Monday, February 12, 2007
  Eleni Mandell - Miracle Of Five
one of the most important things to remember about finding new music is that almost every single album i ever run across defies my expectations in some fashion. as humans, we make judgments upon first contact, no matter who we are or how hard we try not to -- and when we look at album art, hear a name, or hear just a few chords of one song, we automatically make assumptions and write a story for something we know nothing about. i did this with Eleni Mandell, along with probably every other artist ever, and want to give you as candid a picture of the singer/songwriter as she would give you -- which is photographically truthful.

eleni mandell has terrific press photos. it's really quite hard to choose just one of them. her official website, linked above, has incredible flash artwork and fun facts (read her bio, find out her first record, the first time she met her band guys, etc. etc.). and even though her "genre" is filled with intense competition, she's already well-established, just like the rest of them -- Feist, Emily Haines, Amy Millan, even Inara George -- and besides, she doesn't really care. her voice is gorgeous, filled with attitude, confidence, and all the know-how of someone much older and wiser than herself. a fifth record, however, calls up comparisons to older material. a fifth record?!, you say. yes, yes, a fifth. she is seductive as all hell, aware of her voice's power, molding the shapes of her musical understanding until a parade of fashioned fancies has danced smokily in and out of your ears, and you are high from the delicious haze. "Miss Me" saunters in, 12th of 12 tracks, soothing your pounding brain with bluesy swagger and brass, sax and horns. nothin' wrong here, my friends. eleni has you just right.

the best part about Miracle Of Five is its upfront marvel at making music. a salute to old, old influences, americana in Roger & Hammerstein, and still the low-lit walk through the bar, bouncy curls, more questions asked than answered -- eleni has no trouble divulging both the details of her second boyfriend ever and just exactly what makes her tick, what makes the beat ring out so quietly and confidently from the (possibly misrepresentative) paper cut-out of her album cover artwork. she's all set. don't you worry about this one.

::::let the jazzy songbird sing you into the stupor:
Eleni Mandell - My Twin
- all of her best influences rolled into one catchy tune - jazz, folk, alt country, and sunsets. mmhmmm.
Eleni Mandell - Miss Me - the last track, and possibly the best. piano, blues, "just the birds singin'..."
more available through the hype machine.

more of the delightful press photos are stocked at her myspace, where you can also listen to the songs i had a hard time choosing between. i highly recommend you get your hands on this album, which you can do here, since it came out last week. oh, and she won't let you down. no no.
Shan, she is lovely. Even my wife, who usually maintains a superior indifference to anything I play piped up and said 'Who's that? I like.' which is nothing short of a miracle!
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