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We here at KCRW have been big fans of local singer/songwriter Eleni Mandell for quite some time now – since her 1998 debut, Wishbone, in fact. And whether it is with her solo work, her band the Grabs, or with her team-up with fellow local singer/songwriters the Living Sisters, Mandell always impresses, and that mark of quality has led her to work with a number of noteworthy fans, including Chuck E. Weiss, Jon Brion, Wilco’s Nels Cline, members of legendary rockers X and many others. But it seems clear her latest, Let’s Fly a Kite, is her most personal set of songs to date.

Inspired by her three-year-old twins, she celebrates motherhood in an affectionate, charming way, letting her smart, subtle pop tunes replace the kind of fawning baby snapshot overload most parents can’t seem to shake. This time around aided by her Yep Roc labelmate Nick Lowe with the loan of his crack band, Mandell frames her sonic storytelling in such a way that it reads both as clever, old-timey love songs and as elegant lullabies to her young charges, such as on tracks like “Put My Baby to Bed,” “I Like You,” and “Little Joy.” Jaunty, two-step rhythms keep things lively (the Nick Lowe influence is quite apparent), while Mandell’s trademark wry perspective remains intact. All in all, Let’s Fly a Kite is a clarion call for us all to take inspiration from the wonders of childhood and a darn fine album to boot.

-ERIC J. LAWRENCE

Track List:

1. Put My Baby to Bed
2. Wedding Ring
3. Little Joy
4. Love Never Acted
5. The Man Who's Always Lost
6. I Like You
7. Anyone Like You
8. Maybe Yes
9. Something To Think About
10. Midnight Hauler
11. Cool Water
12. Like Dreamers Do

Photo by Laura Heffington/Courtesy of the artist

Let's Fly a Kite

Eleni Mandell

[PLAYLIST GOES HERE]

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