It’s easy to see why Eleni Mandell is often introduced with the caveat “an under-recognized talent,” or something of that ilk. The Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter is so understated as to have been commercially, if not critically, overlooked throughout her decades-long career.
Her latest, I Can See the Future, a rumination on the thorny topic of single motherhood, is characteristically mellow. If you dig deep enough, you’ll find a satisfying tartness at its core.
Future has a rich palette and a gentle touch, switching effortlessly between sugary doo-wop and wistful country and deploying, by turns, lavish string orchestrations and the sorrowful cry of pedal steel guitar. Mandell likes to set doleful lyrics to buoyant melodies, penning arch one-liners like “I’m looking to look for” and “Will you be my part-time man?” At times she can be almost too subtle, but to write her off as boring would be missing the point. Despite its occasional sluggishness, Future is as insightful and absorbing as its title suggests.
47 PALMER ST.