Home Read Classic Album Review: Eleni Mandell | Thrill

Classic Album Review: Eleni Mandell | Thrill

The L.A. singer-songwriter wears her influences on her sleeve in her sophomore set.

This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Eleni Mandell is the kind of singer that gets music critics’ glasses all steamed up and makes them stroke their goatees in onanistic delight. Mainly, it’s because she has pretty good taste herself — and isn’t shy about wearing her influences on her sleeve.

A born-and-bred Angelino, Mandell has soaked up the sounds and styles of L.A. legends from Tom Waits, Chuck E. Weiss and Exene Cervenka to Raymond Chandler and Charles Bukowski. On the 13-track Thrill — her sophomore CD after the critically beloved (natch) Wishbone — she once again swirls them all into a potent mickey of noirish torch balladry, clunky junk-rock, mutant beatnik jazz and heart-tugging last-call ballads, then serves it up with a voice like a smoke ring blown through cherry-red lipstick. In truth, she’s not quite as incredible as her press kit — she still sounds more like her record collection than anything else — but I wouldn’t be surprised if she still steams up a few sets of specs next time she pulls through town.