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Reviewed by - Matt Rowe

Eleni Mandell
Miracle of Five

There’s a lot of charm to Miracle of Five, the 6th full-length album (not counting an EP of music from 2004) from seasoned artist, Eleni Mandell. If you’re not careful, you’ll deprive yourself of the opportunity to “discover” the already prolific singer, whose last recorded set was in 2004 (Afternoon). Called LA’s best-unsigned artist by The New Yorker Magazine, this melancholic singer will fill your airspace with song after song of inquisitive love.

On Miracle of Five, there are 12 original songs beginning with “Moonglow, Lamp Low,” a jazzy piece that will have you reaching for your cigarettes and beer. It is complete with saxophone and replicates the old jazz-club style admirably. You’ll hear this style in several songs (“My Twin,” “Perfect Stranger,” “Somebody Else,” “Miss Me”) but it is not the predominant style.

There’s the simplistic acoustic guitar and voice of “Girls,” a tune about the girls in a guy’s past and the questions of an admirer from the admirer’s perspective. There’s a hint of country music in some songs as well (“Wings in his Eyes,”). But she has dabbled in all of these styles in past works. All in all, Eleni’s new album can be characterized as a walk through alternative pastures with stop-off points that are musically specific.

I’m rather caught up in the conversational “Beautiful,” a song that is Leonard Cohen-like in its presentation. A little on the dark side yet filled with an almost erotic desire, “Beautiful” is easily the best cut on this album. DJ Bonebrake of X stops off to play Vibes on this album.

All of Miracle of Five is soft, desiring, heart breaking, and full of the quest of love. I find it quite a satisfying experience.

Release Date: February 06, 2007
Produced by: Andy Kaulkin
Format: CD


Track Listing:

Moonglow, Lamp Low / Girls / My Twin / Salt Truck / Wings in His Eyes / Make-Out King / Miracle of Five / Perfect Stranger / Dear Friend / Somebody Else / Beautiful / Miss Me.

Eleni Mandell:

Eleni Mandell - Vocals / Nylon Stringed Guitar
Ryan Feves - Bass - Electric and Upright
Kevin Fitzgerald - Drums / Percussion
Nels Cline - Guitars / Dobro / Banjo / Lap Steel Guitar / Weird Sounds
Andy Kaulkin - Piano / Organ / Mellotron / Celeste
Jeff Turmes - Saxophone / Clarinet
Rick Holmstrom - Electric Guitar (Dear Friend)
Miguel Atwood-Ferguson - Viola
Rebekah Raff - Harp
DJ Bonebrake - Vibes
Angela Correa - Backup Vocals (Miracle of Five/Moonglow, Lamp Low)

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