by John Tindale
New Zealand four-piece Yumi Zouma have garnered a reputation for being able to craft moments of summery, dream-pop bliss. Following a collaboration with the now-defunct Air France (the greatest band to have never released an album) in 2014 to cover their single ‘It Feels So Good To Be Around You’, their reputation has only grown to the point where they’ve supported Lorde on tour. But after two years, Yumi Zouma have finally arrived with their debut LP Yoncalla.
As is the case with most dream-pop records, Yumi Zouma have a way of enchanting the listener with an airy quality; but where acts like Empress Of and Beach House have more of an obvious twang of aggression or emotional disturbance, Yoncella washes over like a warm summer’s breeze. Single ‘Barricade (Matter Of Fact)’ is a clear example of this, as with an Air France meets a modern day Tegan and Sara, the track creates a sense of calm as synths and snares passively do their thing.
Yoncella is an album that is a product of its influences; the album constantly harks back to the Balearic pop sound of Air France and Saint Etienne, with the hints of melancholy in the music to boot. ‘Remember You At All’ is the type of song the islanders would listen to in Tennyson’s ‘Lotus Flowers’ as a trance-like state is achieved. Meanwhile, there is the house-tinged lead single ‘Keep It Close To Me’, a track which follows the school of Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs in its abstract construction to create a timeless dance track.
The main criticism of the album is the fact that it all sounds slightly the same, a fact which sounds harsh when considering that that is the point of their sound –to wash over and create tranquillity. But after 34 minutes of the same song, it becomes hard to pay attention and as such can never truly be a great album. In Yoncella, Yumi Zouma have perfected the craft of Balearic pop – but to be truly great like its influences it needs to transcend this to become something unique. There is time for that though – for now, let’s just listen and allow one of the most promising debuts of 2016 to wash over. (7/10)
Listen to Yoncalla via Spotify here, and tell us what you think below!
Tags: album, Cascine, Charlie Ryder, Christie Simpson, John Tindale, Josh Burgess, review, Sam Perry, Yoncalla, Yumi Zouma
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