Eleni Mandells singing on the new album is a revelation; never has her conversational alto sounded more present, or more real. Part of it is due to the unorthodox way her vocals were recorded. Determined to get the absolute optimum vocal performances out of his charge, producer Andy Kaulkin (Merle Haggard, R.L. Burnside) started with Mandells vocals and nylon-string guitar, recorded solo on the basic tracks; the other musicians would overdub their parts afterward, reacting to her finished vocals. Recording all the songs by myself did really make a difference, Mandell confirms. Andy was a little bit hard on me when he felt I wasnt quite getting it, but it was great working with him, just knowing he was really paying attention.
Joining Eleni on Miracle Of Five are Wilco lead guitarist Nels Cline, X drummer DJ Bonebrake (who plays vibes here), her longtime rhythm section of drummer Kevin Fitzgerald and bassist Ryan Feves, reed player Jeff Turmes (James Harman, Badly Drawn Boy) and keyboardist Andy Kaulkin (Merle Haggard, R.L. Burnside), who also produced. Rob Schnapf (Beck, Elliott Smith) did the mixing.
Together they have created a deeply satisfying album full of atmosphere, depth and poise.
Miracle Of Five by Eleni Mandell is out on April 9th (V2)