"Wanted: a '60s-influenced singer looking to participate in a project with a sense of energy and soul," read a Craigslist ad posted by local musical whiz Christopher Moll two years ago.
Moll had gotten the itch to start crafting music again after stepping away from a bustling career with his orchestral, cinematic creation the Postmarks. He was the driving force behind this Burt Bacharach-idolizing trio based out of Pompano Beach. It churned out three records in three years (of which Moll served as the principal engineer, producer, and composer), and eventually, Moll got burned out. He decided to take a self-imposed break from the limelight.
But in that one year off, his former musical counterpart, Postmarks' singer Tim Yehezkely, came to the conclusion she'd rather be a pharmacist than a pop star. This left Moll without a vocal yin to his honeyed vintage pop yang.
One would think, with the kind of success Moll experienced with the Postmarks -- tours across Europe, gracing the stage at Lollapalooza, favorable reviews from high-profile outfits such as Pitchfork and Spin -- he would have possible collaborators lining up for miles outside his door. Such was not the case.
"It's challenging finding musicians to work with, period, let alone those who totally get what you are trying to do," Moll, who you could call a pensive introvert, told New Times when discussing his latest project, the Lovers Key.
What proceeded was a tireless two-year hunt for the right fit. Moll tells us he tried teaming up with countless music-makers, but nothing worked out. "I wasn't looking for a female or male," said Moll. "Really, I was just wanted to find a good sparring partner."
The day finally came when he found a diamond in the rough, Maco Monthervil, during the summer of 2012. This Boynton Beach resident and former aspiring recording star in his native Haiti responded to the Craigslist posting. Monthervil's serious set of soulful pipes provided Moll with the change of direction he was yearning for. The two met for a few brief studio sessions, and their union proved fruitful. Two Lovers Key tracks -- throwback Motown-flavored numbers "Who's the One You Love" and "Bright Eyes, Black Soul" -- quickly came together.
Moll described his new collaborator as "Marvin Gaye, Morrissey, and Amy Winehouse all rolled up in one." With the Lovers Key, Moll produces a sound that's still very retro-fitted, and together the two emit a Motown vibe with a garage-rock kick. He was going for something a bit rawer and scaled back from the symphonic splendor of the Postmarks. In the duo's recent release on Room Records, Here Today, Gone Tomorrow, he's managed to meet that goal.
The album's soft release came on April Fool's Day and was criminally underheard. "Maybe it's partially my fault for not promoting myself," admitted Moll. "The bands I play in don't play a lot of shows. I concentrated on the recording as my statement, like I was on a desert island having to send a flare to let people know you are alive."
The label repackaged the album and is releasing a deluxe edition on September 23, with a more enthusiastic push. Moll tells us it includes extra material and a bevy of remixes by Ursula 1000 and Camera2 and even one surprise number from the Postmarks.
He admits he's taken particular enjoyment in living vicariously through Monthervil during this process. "As articles and interviews start coming in, it's great to see his wide-eyed reaction to being in the industry for the first time." The two are proud of what they have accomplished on wax. "All of your songs are like your babies: You want them to grow up and be successful in the world." The group will unveil its sonic offspring in West Palm Beach on Friday at Respectable Street.
The Lovers Key with Retrocities. 10 p.m. Friday, August 22, at Respectable Street, 518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. Tickets cost $5. Call 561-832-9999, or visit respectablestreet.com.