Miracle of Five

Miracle of Five

by Eleni MandellEleni Mandell


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It's difficult to review any Eleni Mandell album without using the words "torchy" and "chanteuse," and Miracle of Five -- her sixth release -- is no exception. However, this recording was approached uniquely. Producer/keyboardist Andy Kaulkin captured Mandell solo, singing the songs while strumming on her nylon-stringed guitar, overdubbing the rest of the band later. While that might seem a bit artificial for such rootsy, jazz-tinged music, the results justify the means. Mandell sounds relaxed and there is a spaciousness to the material resulting from Kaulkin's ability to add and subtract instruments at will. Mandell's voice has shifted from its once edgy PJ Harvey timbre to a far more luxurious, breathy style, similar to Aimee Mann, especially on the languorous "Salt Truck." This is hushed, melancholy music that remains sparse, even stark, despite the addition of such relatively exotic accompaniment as harp, celeste, clarinet and vibes (from X drummer D.J. Bonebrake). The always impressive Nels Cline is credited with guitars, dobro and "weird sounds." He restrains his typically avant-garde, jazzy excursions to bring unusual tones and textures to the project. Kaulkin applies these instruments with the care and detail-oriented touch of a painter, dabbing them into the recordings to provide color but never letting the few solos steal the spotlight from Mandell's mellifluous voice and sharp lyrics. The words are printed in the booklet which makes it easy to follow along as the singer approaches relationships -- good, bad, stagnating, improving and dissolving -- with a sharp poetic grace fleshed out by the gorgeous music. She finds the nooks and crannies in uncomplicated words, bringing layers of meaning to a deceptively simple lyric such as "Your eyes are the same eyes that you had yesterday, so you know who you once were." Her musings add weight and even intensity to the subtle, muted tunes, making this a perfect addition to her existing catalog and arguably, her finest work yet.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/06/2007
Label: Zedtone
UPC: 0775020756823
catalogNumber: 5
Rank: 120030

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Eleni Mandell   Primary Artist,Vocals,Guitar (Nylon String)
Nels Cline   Banjo,Dobro,Electric Guitar,Lap Steel Guitar
Rick Holmstrom   Electric Guitar
Andy Kaulkin   Organ,Piano,Celeste,Mellotron
Jeff Big Dad Turmes   Clarinet,Saxophone
Rebekah Raff   Harp
Angela Correa   Background Vocals
Ryan Feves   Electric Bass,Upright Bass

Technical Credits

Nels Cline   Sound Effects
Andy Kaulkin   Producer
Woody Jackson   Engineer
Brian Kehew   Vocal Engineer,Guitar Engineer
Eleni Mandell   Composer
Sheldon Gomberg   Engineer
Dave Lachance   Engineer

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