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Artificial Fire Import
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''May be the best songwriter on discordant desire and heartache since Joni Mitchell... the interplay between Eleni and her band is reminiscent of Chrissie Hynde and early Pretenders.'' --Paste
''Musical coordinates obviously include sultry sirens Chrissie Hynde and PJ Harvey, but she also possesses an uncanny knack for sweetly sinister, heartsick vignettes.'' --Spin
''Artificial Fire is full of caressing ballads, ambient pieces she calls 'space fog' and punchy pop-rock stompers that recall the best late-'70's moments of Blondie, Talking Heads or Elvis Costello & the Attractions.'' --Performing Songwriter
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This, her most recent as of this writing, was my first exposure to the woman. I'd heard various things. People said she was inspired by Tom Waits. People compared her to PJ Harvey. I'm sure she does count Tom Waits as an influence, but you definitely shouldn't expect Tom Waits when you listen to this, and I'm even less sure about the PJ Harvey comparisons. So let's just say Eleni is her own unique artist, and as such, has found herself dabbling in many genres throughout her seven album career. And you'll see several different sides to her on this CD.
"Artificial Fire" gets off to a strong start with it's title track, one of the more immediate and rockier songs on the album. Many of the songs that follow are softer, easier to throw on in the background and forget about. This isn't to say they are bad songs, but ultimately many of them aren't among her most memorable. Give them time to grow on you, and you'll still appreciate their beauty but they are not immediate crowd pleasers, nor are they intended to be. The album features a number of more upbeat tracks, such as "Little Foot" and "Bigger Burn" and they are some of the best of this type that Eleni Mandell has done.
Still, the mediocre songs outweigh the great songs on this one, which makes it not her best effort. It was still good enough to interest me in buying more of her work, for whatever that's worth. However, upon hearing what she is capable of, I'm convinced this album is merely a fine addition to her catalogue, rather than her finest moment. If you are just looking for her best work, I'd steer you towards 2000's "Thrill" if you're looking for her most adventurous work, 2003's "Country For True Lovers" if the name of the album appeals to you, 2004's "Afternoon" if you're looking for her most immediately accessible album, or 2007's "Miracle of Five" if a set of truly laid-back songs sounds appealing to you. All of them are excellent from start to finish. If you think you might be interested in buying a few of her albums, this is as good a place to start as any. "Artificial Fire" won't change your life, but it's a good use for that extra $13 you've got in your wallet.
This is an excellent intro to her unique voice, but also check out her other albums -- she's yet to produce a bad one or two that sound alike.
Check out her other Albums, guys. Well worth it.
Great Indi-rocker. F American Idol!
Screw Auto-Tune, too!