Eleni Mandell I Can See The Future

Eleni Mandell I Can See The Future
Long under-valued L.A. singer-songwriter Mandell may get some deserved extra exposure for signing to Yeproc for this, her eighth album. Once again, it's nearly impossible to pin her style down, as she has lush torch songs, jazzy numbers, pop tunes and roots-inflected numbers sitting cheek to jowl. She has definitely moved away from the edgy, noir-ish feel of early albums like Wishbone, and that's something of a pity. The sweetly seductive "Magic Summertime" and "I'm Lucky" are string-drenched ― arrangements are courtesy of Bright Eyes' Nathaniel Walcott ― showcasing the mellower Mandell. Maybe that's the California sun, or the recent onset of maternity (the bio's reference to an anonymous sperm donor is a little too much info, however). A simpler, rootsier duet with Benji Hughes on "Never Have to Fall in Love Again" is more compelling than the big production numbers. Mandell's supple voice is in fine form, as is her songwriting talent. Her comrades in folk-rock act the Living Sisters contribute, as do such L.A. session aces as Greg Leisz, Joey Waronker and Steve Berlin. The production work of Joe Chiccarelli (the Shins, the Strokes) is of similarly high calibre. This is generally a strong effort, but it'd be nice if Mandell's future work were just a bit more focused stylistically. (Yep Roc)