Personnel: Maddie Dobie (vocals); Mark Kiff (guitar).
A recording project of British producer/songwriter Joe Moore, the Yearning released its debut LP in 2014. For those unfamiliar with prior EPs, Dreamboats & Lemonade introduced the outfit's nostalgic chamber pop, written and recorded using the Beach Boys, Burt Bacharach, and especially '60s girl groups as templates, and sung by -- in tribute to the era -- teenager Maddie Dobie. Two years later, the follow-up, Evening Souvenirs, concentrates on the more melancholy shades of Bacharach. To set the stage, the album opens with a one-minute instrumental prelude that begins with a single repeated note on piano and develops into arpeggiated keys with strings. Soon, the record's first words are: "Why do the raindrops keep on falling/Fall down my window like they do?/Why does the second hand keep moving on/If life ended here when I lost you?" The heartbreak swells with woodwinds, brass, and reinforcement from the Cotswold Voices choir, who return later on select tracks. Song titles like "When You Look at Her" and "Fools Fall in Love" correctly predict that the album continues in kind. The more seductive "Fall in Love with Me" is a bossa nova with guitar, rhythm section, flute, strings, and a husky saxophone solo. Also offering a slight change of pace, "Nightingale" is a duet with Moore and Dobie, and "Ava" is a short but sweet acoustic guitar solo by Mark Kiff, who plays throughout the album. While Evening Souvenirs plays as a novelty due to its really spot-on retro arrangements, performances, and production, it should delight fans of Baroque pop, as well as those in the mood for dramatic, brokenhearted indie pop. ~ Marcy Donelson