To start a new year, I delve back into an album released just over a year ago from electro-pop ex-pats Yumi Zouma. Persephone is wonderfully dreamy with just the right amount of groove to keep you hitting repeat over and over again.
Lyrics that touch upon nostalgia are combined with the sweet vocals of singer Christie to float you across the sparkling second track from 2017 sophomore album Willowbank. It’s the sort of wide eyed songwriting that can’t help but feel hopeful and spacious. Delicate refrains are complimented by deft production that results in Yumi Zouma’s crisp, clean sound. Effortlessly upbeat, Persephone is a dose of distinctly summery disco-tinted retro-pop.
Yumi Zouma started as the trans-continental bedroom project of friends that found themselves scattered across the globe; from New-York to Paris and their native New Zealand. Their initial work would be completed from demos shared through dropbox, poured over in separate time zones and was quickly picked up Brooklyn independent record label Cascine, who instantly recognised the alternative-pop as the sort of sound that defines their catalogue. Before having even rehearsed together as a band, Yumi Zouma found themselves booked to tour and have since gone on to play across the globe, opening shows for the likes of Lorde and Jamie XX. Whilst band members fluctuate around the core of Charlie Ryder and Josh Burgess (Christie Simpson and Sam Perry make up the band on Willowbank), all are multi-instrumentalists and bring with them bucket loads of musicality that enable them perfect their long distance songwriting.
Debut album Yoncalla is filled with tracks that each capture the easy going charm of Yumi Zouma, even if it does feel a a little disjointed as a record. When recording Willowbank, the band-mates returned to home soil and a studio in the slowly recovering central business district of Christchurch, having been ravaged by earthquakes eight years ago. The result is an album that feels altogether more solid and cohesive, with Persephone embodying the breezy sincerity of these antipodean melody makers.