Los Angeles-based Eleni Mandell has raised the bar in the contemporary singer-songwriter community with her latest effort, Artificial Fire. On the 15 literate tracks, Mandell ruminates on failed relationships, faith, remembrance, hope and bringing dreams to life.

Mandell’s distinctly drawn tunes are enhanced by bold electric guitar, decisive back beats and a buoyant vibe. “Bigger Burn” and winsome “Little Foot” have a brisk design, while boyfriend narrative “Right Side” has an airy accent due to brassy horns, a lilting guitar riff and a summery melody.

Unhurried “Tiny Waist” and autobiographical “Personal” integrate seductive minimalism that underscores Mandell’s sultry voice and shapely sensuality. Guitarist Jeremy Drake adds unorthodox dynamics to slightly discordant “I Love Planet Earth” and “Two Faces,” which share a collective spiritualism.

Mandell saves her most scorching aggression for album ender “Cracked,” where she exclaims, “My soul has been twisted/I’m cracked for you/My heart has been blistered.”



Artificial Fire is currently available.