The Postmarks: Memoirs at the End of the World

Postmarks_MemoirsAtTheEndOfTheWorldIndie pop band indulges their love of ‘60s film score dynamics

Anyone who’s heard the Postmarks previous two albums will remember how Tim Yehezkely’s breathy vocals recall 1960s French pop chanteuses and more recent vocalists like Nina Persson of the Cardigans and Sarah Cracknell of Saint Etienne, not to mention twee-pop groups such as Heavenly, Talulah Gosh, and the Shop Assistants. The band has always brought a strong ‘60s vibe to their records, with jaunty tempos, summery melodies and brooding bass lines, and their album of covers, By-the-Numbers, laid out many musical influences. Still, their earlier cover of John Barry’s “You Only Live Twice” and a buzzing organ arrangement of Richard Rodgers’ “Slaughter on 10th Avenue” won’t fully prepare you for this full-blown foray into vintage film score sounds.

“No One Said This Would Be Easy” opens the album with orchestral strings, tympani and castanets that suggest James Bond narrowly escaping the clutches of a Russian temptress. The bass and drums underlying the arrangement soften as Yehezkely enters, but the song’s forward momentum doesn’t lose a step, and the bridge add flashes of horns and glockenspiel to the drama. The effect amplifies the power of Yehezkely’s singing without having to amplify her volume or alter her breezy charms. It’s quite the brilliant trick to so fruitfully combine her girlish vocals with scored rock backings. Fans of British production music collections such as The Sound Gallery and The Easy Project will recognize the swinging London and international loungecore vibe.

The group’s indie pop peeks through the grander productions in washes of synthesizers and vocal processing, but the songs are carried by the cinematic bombast surrounding Yahezkely’s dream-cool delivery. The lyrics loom enigmatically, clearing for moments of romantic reverie and painful separation, and there’s a terrific send-up (or perhaps jealous accounting) of “The Jetsetter.” The music’s enchantment is in its melodies and the interplay between Yehezkely’s fetching vocals and the thickly crafted arrangements. This is a sophisticated and charming album whose underlying pop craft casts a big shadow with its soundtrack dynamics. [©2009 hyperbolium dot com]

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