Something magical can happen when an artist manages to accurately capture a very defining time or era in their life. In 2010, L.A. native Eleni Mandell gave birth to twins by means of an anonymous sperm donor, dramatically changing the way she managed her career. Over the course of her previous eight albums, Mandell's songs have examined life, love, and human nature from a multitude of angles, but rarely has she sounded as focused as she is on Let's Fly a Kite. Balancing the priorities of being a single mother and professional musician, these 12 songs find her re-examining the richness of her new life to find a calm satisfaction. Following a 2012 tour with Nick Lowe, Mandell befriended both Lowe's backing band and his longtime producer Neil Brockbank. When they decided to make an album together, there was a very short window for it to happen causing her to write a specific set of new songs for the band rather than slowly piece her material together over time. The result is a unique and charming snapshot of Mandell's changing life paired with a group of musicians who specialize in live, single-take performances. Brockbank's breezy arrangements are a perfect companion for Mandell's rich, melodious voice and there is a playful immediacy throughout the record. Songs like the jazzy "Put My Baby to Bed" and "Maybe Yes" are sharply written and full of clever turns of phrase exploring the singer's world of motherhood and romance. There are austere country-flavored pop songs like the wonderful "Little Joy" and "Cool Water," full of infectious melody and a gentle joie de vivre. There is an overall sense of it being the right album at the right time for Mandell which is something that doesn't happen very often in an artist's career.
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AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger