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  Artificial Fire Cover

"It was new, it was old/ from the start it was both." Eleni Mandell, a cool pop-maker with six albums to the good, is in some sort of mid-career crisis, and Artificial Fire is what comes of it. It's a happening disc of springy rock, wistful thoughts and one breezy hit for sure (The Right Side). It's a youthful record, seemingly about boys rather than men, with Mandell's unfairly easy sensuality a selling point. And then there's guitarist Jeremy Drake, whose style is hard to describe. I can tell you, however, that his hair is spiked, that his grandfather helped build a railroad, that his dog's name is Spike (or something like that), and that his sister plays volleyball. Mandell has said she wanted a more spirited album this time around, one that gets people moving. Consider it done."
Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail on Artificial Fire

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"L.A. hipster and Tom Waits acolyte Eleni Mandell has been writing and singing sultry pop-noir songs for almost a decade now, but it wasn’t until 2007’s stark, brooding Miracle of Five that she started to receive the acclaim she deserves. That album ended up on several year-end Best Of lists, including Paste’s. Her follow-up, Artificial Fire, should ensure that the radar is firmly fixed on her music for a long time to come, and that big, bright blip on the screen is the best pop album I’ve heard in months.

…The basic ingredients here—a sexy, intelligent singer and songwriter, a guy who wants to be a guitar god and a drummer who socks the hell out of his kit—come fairly close to defining my notion of perfect music. Mix well and serve as a triple-layer torch-song/New Wave/power-pop confection. This is how it’s done."
Andy Whitman, PASTE on Artificial Fire

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"From the first few bars, which feature a punky guitar riff, it's clear Eleni Mandell's music is taking a new turn on "Artificial Fire." The addition of guitarist Jeremy Drake is the big change, bringing an edgy hook to nearly every song and allowing Mandell to expand her already impressive musical palette.

The Los Angeles songwriter channels Blondie on the back-to-back tunes "Bigger Burn" and "Little Foot." "Needle And Thread" also would have won applause at CBGB's, and D.J. Bonebrake's vibes make "Front Door" sound like something by his old band, X.

There's also plenty of the sultry singing that distinguished Mandell's 2007 release, "Miracle of Five."

She needs only a single chord to pull off the trancelike "God Is Love," and "Don't Let It Happen" is the sort of ballad that would make Dusty Springfield and Burt Bacharach proud. "Right Side," with horns and a great guitar solo by Drake, also sounds like a lost 1960s gem.

Elsewhere the album rocks, but even when it does, Mandell rarely raises her voice. With songs this good there's no need to shout.

CHECK IT OUT: Backed by Drake's shimmering guitar, Mandell wrings every ounce of romance from the ballad "In The Doorway," and her final three words provide a climax that would make any pulp novelist proud."
Steven Wine, Associated Press on Artificial Fire


  Miracle of Five Cover

"Nobody does sultry like Eleni Mandell. Whether she's singing about the "Make-Out King" asleep in her bed, the fling with a "Perfect Stranger," or just holding hands with a lover on the title cut, passion fuels Miracle of Five. But the L.A. singer's sixth record is free from Harlequin banalities or Girls Gone Wild excess. These are country shuffles, late-night lullabies and jazzy torch songs for real adults, where mystery and subtlety leave the best bits to your imagination. In keeping with her hometown's noirish legacy, the affairs may seem doomed from the first kiss, but burn all the brighter for their fate. Some of L.A.'s best session players add all the right accents to Miracle of Five, which also makes judicious use of guitar wiz Nels Cline. But it's Mandell's alluring whisper that weakens knees and wills, and these songs remind us why men fall for smart, sexy women in the first place."
John Schacht, HARP on Miracle of Five

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  Afternoon cover

"Another damn fine record by Eleni Mandell. Afternoon drips with all Mandell's familiar virtues - the lyrics' crushed romanticism, the arrangements' spare elegance, the voice's daydreamy beauty - and pours on another, the tight/loose consistency of her touring band. It's led by ex-Creekdipper Joshua Grange, a guitarist of unerring cleanliness and taste, who also produced the disc with special attention to the sensual intimacy that's Mandell's greatest strength. Whether quietly exultant ("American Boy") or quietly damaged ("Just a Dream"), Mandell makes you feel it in ways only Roy Orbison, Patsy Cline and a few others have done. A 2003 L.A. Weekly Best Songwriter award, five albums' worth of killer material . . . hey, all that makes Mandell one of L.A.'s top attractions, doesn't it?""
LA Weekly on Afternoon

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  Country for Lovers cover

"Sultry-voiced nightclub ingenue Eleni Mandell has a thrilling-chilling way with a busted romance ballad, but country & western? That seems like a stretch, right? Evidently not. A preview spin of her forthcoming Country For True Lovers album reveals that Mandell's turn as a honky-tonk hussy is a smouldering success, thanks in part to the tastefully understated accompaniment of country ringers Tony Gilkyson, Kip Boardman, Don Heffington and pedal steel master Greg Leisz, who create a brilliant Bakersfield after-hours vibe...fans of Jean Shepard and bourbon for breakfast will be well pleased."
NOW Magazine (Toronto) on Country for True Lovers

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Snakebite cover

"Less is more they say and this L.A. singer-songwriter does a lot more with less in her third collection...Against stark acoustic backdrops accentuate the raw emotion her voice tranforms from raspy-sweet to sexually hysterical to fervidly scornful, painting rare portraits of mysterious and desperate lives."
Los Angeles Times on Snakebite

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Thrill cover

"Long time losers, perennial near misses, angry men and vengeful women - they're all here. It's meaty stuff, but what really catches your ear is Eleni Mandell's voice. Or voices, she has several. And each has the depth to match the range...part cabaret, part blues mama and all good. Very, very good actually."
The Sydney Morning Herald on Thrill

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