Finally signing to a record label -- in this case, Yep Roc Records -- is far from the most significant event to influence Mandell of late, however. Many of the songs from this record were written during the tour for her previous album, "Artificial Fire" -- a difficult period when her long-time bandmates were beginning to go their separate ways and she was considering starting a family on her own. Mandell eventually became pregnant with twins, and despite the somewhat heavy context, she describes the recording of the songs for "I Can See the Future" while being eight months pregnant as "the happiest time of [her] life."
All of this lends the songs from this album an especially bittersweet edge, and helps to explain the dichotomy between the quietly optimistic poppiness of "Magic Summertime" and "Bun in the Oven" to the country-tinged melancholy of "Never Have to Fall in Love Again" and "Who You Gonna Dance With?" Mandell may not be able to see the future as clearly as her album title asserts, but she has certainly made use of the uncertainty, pain and joy that future has brought.
All photos by Louis Kwok.