Folksy with a Chance of Cowboy
At first, Eleni Mendell’s new record I Can See the Future might seem a little blah. It opens with the un-wowzer “The Future” (which she can apparently see)-–a very spacey, folk number that meanders in a way that might go brilliantly in the background of, oh, watching a lava lamp ooze for awhile. But fear not! With twelve more tracks ahead, there are plenty of chances to turn off the lamp, strap on your sandals and de-blah.
If female vocalists are like wine, Eleni’s voice has a nervy mouth feel, with a folksy nose and notes of Fiona Apple. She’s an excellent pairing with the luscious sounding Benji Hughes, who guests on the very fun “Never Have to Fall in Love Again.” Eleni’s songs are at their best when they are verging on a cacophony of instruments from a bygone era. There’s a considerable amount of pedal steel, 60’s & 70’s synth sounds and surprise horns; all of them a welcome complement to her vocal style.
While I Can See the Future may not be the most riveting collection of coffeehouse folk tunes, there are some worthwhile gems in here. Standout songs include “Who You Gonna Dance With,” which is bright and boppy in a great way. She brings back that echoing spacey feel with a cowboy twist for “Don’t Say No,” and ends the record with “A Possibility,” a perfectly sparse and charming conclusion.