The origins of New Zealand’s Yumi Zouma are a picture of music in the 21st century.
Separated by oceans, the band wrote and recorded their fantastic EPs by emailing bits and pieces back and forth until fully formed songs, like the beautiful debut single “The Brae”, were born.
Yumi Zouma, then, is more a collaboration than a band; each member's personal tastes, ideas and self given room to make a mark, rather than being drowned out. It’s a process that has won them a number of famous fans, from Lorde to Chet Faker, and even brought Air France out of the woodwork to lend a hand on a cover of the spectacular “It Feels Good To Be Around You”.
For their long-awaited debut, Yoncalla, however, the group went a more traditional route; writing and recording the album together. It’s led to a sound that feels slightly removed from their previous EPs, but no less dreamy.
A collection of effortlessly cool, breezy tracks, it’s album that floats along rather than packs a punch. Top down, driving down the coast, watching a long, hazy day fade into night by a lakeside, soundtracking a BBQ surrounded by the people you love. These are the moments Yoncalla seems built for. One second it places you under its seductive spell, the next it’s there to soothe your woes. Hakuna matata.
Christie Simpson’s sweet vocals, accompanied by the laidback synths and handclaps of “Text From Sweden” wash over your like a warm ocean lapping the shore, while the bouncy “Keep It Close To Me”, which is a testament to this new way of working where everything fits snugly together, feels like that moment at twilight on a warm summer day where everything just feels right.
Yoncalla isn’t earth-shattering - everything sort of blends together, as is often the way with most dream pop records. But what does it matter when it’s the sort of album that makes you feel good. Like the world is yours for the taking. It doesn’t shout, it doesn’t shake. It’s just there, by your side, ready to set off into the sunset with you.