In the songs on Eleni Mandell's fifth CD, the men are unfaithful, dangerous, and, worst of all, beating a path from Mandell's bed straight to the city limits. All the desertion may seem like a lot for one young singer/songwriter from Los Angeles to take, but Mandell is doing just fine, thank you. This disc of confident, countryish pop is breezy in all the right ways, a cool cocktail of Cole Porter spiked with the estrogenic chutzpah of contemporary songwriters Sarah Harmer and Kathleen Edwards. Mandell has a real gift for writing new music that sounds time-tested; it's easy to imagine "I've Been Fooled," "Fall Away," and "Yellow Light" drifting out from honky-tonk jukeboxes 50 years ago. Between the oldies, though, Mandell kicks out the jams (and kicks in some teeth) with romantic kiss-offs like "Easy on the Way Out" and "Just a Dream." Lying scumbags of Los Angeles, we salute you: You've inspired a great thing here.
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