Artificial Fire

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Generally favorable reviews - based on 7 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: The seventh full-length album from the Los Angeles singer/songwriter.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. The basic ingredients here--a sexy, intelligent singer and songwriter, a guy who wants to be a guitar god and a drummer who socks the hell out of his kit--come fairly close to defining my notion of perfect music. Together they make a triple-layer torch-song/New Wave/power-pop confection.
  2. This 2009 release is a fine addition to her catalog, although it isn't an album that goes for immediacy.
  3. 70
    The album's rockers are a serviceable change of pace--especially 'Little Foot,' which channels early, Farfisa-laced Elvis Costello--but it's Mandell's torch songs that ignite.
  4. Despite the album’s length, none of the songs feel unnecessary, and each critic seems to be picking a different favorite, illustrating the diverse sounds on Artificial Fire.
  5. The band is excellent, but Mandell's melodies sit uncomfortably amid the burly arrangements, and her lyrics, inflated to match the broad-shouldered music, lapse into poetastery.
  6. This isn’t Mandell’s best album ("Thrill" holds that distinction), but it’s as strong as nearly anything else she’s done.
  7. Mandell’s best, most varied album is hidden somewhere inside Artificial Fire. You have to dig through 20 minutes of brightly painted filler to find it, and unfortunately 12 of those minutes make up the album’s first three songs.