The Postmarks: The Postmarks

On the eleven songs of its self-titled debut, Miami trio The Postmarks drinks from the inestimably rich well of classic ‘60s pop created by Burt Bacharach, Henry Mancini, and Brian Wilson and mixes in shots of lounge music and French pop for added flavour. Singer Tim Yehezkely and instrumentalists Christopher Moll and Jonathan Wilkins concoct a lavish nouveau mix of dreamy vocals, irresistible pop hooks, and lush arrangements that's pretty much irresistible (the album's note-perfect forty-minute running time doesn't hurt either). The mood is wistful and innocent, the material drenched in ennui and bittersweet remembrances of distant summer nights and faded romances (crashing waves and seagulls even appear during the closing seconds of “You Drift Away”). The melancholy mood reigns throughout: though one expects that “Watercolors” might be a painterly departure of sorts, even it turns out to be a metaphor for failed amour (“Watercolors bleeding from my broken heart”).

The excellent opener “Goodbye” exudes a breezy, Petula Clark-Burt Bacharach vibe (there's even Tijuana Brass-styled muted horns straight out of “A Taste of Honey”) as Yehezkely's blithe sigh minces no hint of sadness over departing. Conversely, palpable regret haunts “Summers Never Seem to Last” as she laments the fleeting passage of summer while a Theremin-styled melody warbles amidst guitars and Farfisa organ. The elegant vocal interweave of “Carried on the breeze” and “I'm fall, fall, falling for you” which ends “Winter Spring Summer Fall” is especially lovely, while electric guitar twang brings “Know Which Way the Wind Blows” into Broadcast's orbit.

In an era of over-emotive divas, Yehezkely's reserved approach is a refreshing blast of fresh air. Having said that, her delivery can sometimes be a little bit too reserved; a bit more passion next time around wouldn't hurt. Detractors also will cite the album's singularly dour mood as excessive and, admittedly, The Postmarks strays little beyond its preferred emotional territory. Still, within that circumscribed area, the songs range between balladry (“Leaves,” “End of the Story”) and buoyancy (“Let Go”). Regardless, melancholy never felt as good as it does here, especially when pop nirvana is reached when Yehezkely croons “You Drift Away” while harpsichords and horns swell into a pillowy cloud behind her.

April 2007