The Yearning Still In Love

[Elefant; 2013]

Styles: 60s, girl group, indie, twee
Others: The School, Cilla Black, Belle & Sebastian, Lesley Gore

Still in love: the frozen moment captured, the held gaze. That gaze is a central, winking facet of The Yearning’s second mini-LP: movie stars’ weepers, making eyes at you, seeing him again. But it’s not the brutal, objectifying patriarchal gaze, nor is it the experience of being the object of such a gaze (pace Mad Men, stereotypical masculinity here is playfully but decidedly subverted: ideal men are “gentle and true,” and for The Yearning, even the death drivers are not rebels but “boy racers”).

Rather, in this rainwashed-yet-technicolour vision, a kitchen-sink world with the anger drained away, it’s the gaze of reproduction“All the stuff they tell you about in the movies… But this isn’t chocolate boxes and roses, it’s dirtier than that.” No, it’s not. That “dirtiness,” a physicality that is rather human lies behind the screen, beyond the achingly sweet moment that trembles in tension (a tension without objectification, between subject and subject even as the subject recedes, unknown as only a genuine subject can be), further than the eye can see. But reproduction is mentioned inasmuch as this is, indeed, an exercise in re-creation, the cinematic re-membering of the moment as mise-en-scène, of the sweet melodies and harmonies of 1960s girl groups and doo-wop without the hip-shaking nitty gritty or the unconsoling devastation of tears of despair.

As such, there’s an adorable shamelessness here that speaks of “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”: “If You Were My Boyfriend” borrows the immediately-recognizable rhythm of “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” while “Jeremy” echoes Blondie’s “Shayla” (and of course Blondie themselves were reworking 50s and 60s vibes on moments like “X Offender” and paying literal homage on their own demo-nstrative recreation, “Out In The Streets”). Both are standout moments, while closer “Pretty Lies” introduces a flamenco feel — sombras of Eydie Gormé. Speaking of the past, it’s one of those pieces where even the songs that (paradoxically) in memory are less memorable, give a thrill of pleasure and a near-irresistible desire to bedroom-dance as they prepare for take-off. It’s only fitting that singer Maddie Dobie must now be all of sweet 16. Blow out the candles, make your wish come true.

Links: The Yearning - Elefant

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