Home Read Classic Album Review: Eleni Mandell | Country for True Lovers

Classic Album Review: Eleni Mandell | Country for True Lovers

The L.A. singer-songwriter trades neo-noir for country — with disappointing results.

This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Some folks just don’t know when they’re on to a good thing. Take Eleni Mandell.

For the past few years, this femme fatalish songstress has been driving the critics wild with her torchy, noirish vocals and dark-hearted tales of Angelino nightlife — sort of like X’s Exene singing lyrics by Raymond Chandler and Charles Bukowski to the music of Tom Waits, if you can imagine that. Well, here’s something we can’t imagine: After putting out three solid albums of that sorta twangy mystery and boozy revelry, Mandell has done an about-face and turned into — why, Lord, why? — a tragic, neo-traditional country singer. Sure, she still has a voice as spine-tingling and sensual as a smoke ring blown through cherry-red lipstick. But let’s face it, there’s no shortage of country songbirds on the market right now — and as long as Neko Case can draw breath, Mandell will always take second prize. Eleni, for your own good. put away the Patsy Cline albums, read The Big Sleep again, and get back in touch with your old self.