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I can see the future
Monday, 28.01.2013, 20:20
oh what a night...
Eleni Mandell
+ Sylvie Lewis (USA)
In the preview to her previous gig by us we wrote about quick change artist Eleni and her soulful «Artificial Fire», that she launched another coup with it and that she keeps on growing and changing. It was true then, it's true for her new work now. With her extensive musical palette and her ever expanding career, she goes through styles from Indie to Country as easy as a hot knife through butter, supported by the brilliance of her sideman Drake on guitar.
He's pure magic: His nasty guitar is barely there at times, it colorizes and re-frames, often mocking, then wails with melodic notes full of compassion. His flit fingers are everywhere and he provides Eleni Mandell with a sound carpet to stand on and with which to fly off on.
On the outset of her career, she sheepishly admits, she wanted to become Tom Waits. Abandoning that transgender attempt, she turned it all in her direction with the traditional roots work «Country For True Lovers» and now she was truly onto her way carving her own very personal and original niche, highlighted by distinct and uplifting sound structures. Pop - in which she dabbled for a bit - is part of this mix as well as a generous shot of Indie Rock. Today, she's got an impressive volume of music which is easily on par with that of Blondie, Elvis Costello, PJ Harvey, Chrissie Hynde, Joni Mitchell, Talking Heads and Television.
Eleni became a mom since last time we saw her, but it didn't stop her from making furore with her side project, The Living Sisters. With this, she clearly saw the future, not mundanely resorting to the crystal ball, but musically. Fittingly, her new album is titled «I Can See The Future» which was produced by Joe Chiccarelli (The Shins, The Strokes, White Stripes). They're a real dream team and with the help of first rate studio guys and together with Eleni's dreamy voice, they brought a dream to life that most musicians can only dream about. It's music that's less Indie than previous efforts, instead it's got more Soul, Gospel, Jazz and Country elements. With his pedal steel guitar, Greg Leisz in «Desert Song» gets the desert to glow, Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) on sax polishes and finesses, Joey Waronker drives the rhythm and tatoos on jazzy drums and Benji Hughes is Lee Hazlewood to Eleni's Nancy Sinatra on «Never Have To Fall In Love Again». It's all backed by the voices of the Living Sisters and the string and brass arrangements of Bright Eyes' Nathaniel Walcott. And in October of year last, she toured with Nick Lowe, no less.
It's tough making predictions - especially about the future (pass the olives, Yogi). But Eleni Mandell's music will allow you at least a glimpse of it. Here, by us and now.
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