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coverpic flag New Zealand - Full Moon 243 - 06/20/16

Yumi Zouma
Yoncalla
Arch Hill (NZ/AU) / Cascine (US) / Rallye (JP)

Yumi Zouma's debut album Yoncalla was released in late May, and this week the band continue their small world tour here in Europe. As a teaser from the album the band launched the first single, the sweet and bubbly "Keep It Close To Me" which was followed by a second single, "Short Truth". Eager to hear some catchy synthpop this summer? Yo, go Yoncalla, which serves 'swirling harmonies, naive hooks and shimmering layers.' (New Zealand Listener)

Can you imagine, the band formed just three years ago, and the foursome counts singer Christie Simpson, with Sam Perry (on bass, guitar, synthesizer), Charlie Ryder (on guitar), and Josh Burgess (on bass, synth, guitar). Yoncalla presents ten songs, which are all of the poppy kind. I really enjoyed "Keep It Close To Me" which was called 'this airy, sunny little ray of light' (by Turntable Kitchen), but the album opens brilliantly with the super-nice charmer "Barricade (Matter Of Fact)". This is another catchy pop-song guided by Simpson's perfectly 'naive' sounding vocals. The song starts quite careful and calmly, before it opens up and takes off in a most majestic glide. All (but one) of the tracks on Yoncalla clocks in at around 3 minutes (+/-) which is the ideal length of a pop song and the album last for some 34 minutes. "Keep it Close..." still is one of the better songs, but there are several songs on Yoncalla making this a fine 'feel-good-album-of the summer'. If you are in the mood for synth-tinted pop songs, that is. "Haji Awali", "Short Truth", "Hermisphere", "Drachma", and the longest track (4 minutes, 25 second!) "Yesterday" are all highly recommended. The magic "Drachma" might stand out as the most elegant of them all.

Many of their former recordings have been created by collaborating over e-mail since the members have been spread/based all over the globe (Auckland, Paris and New York). For Yoncalla they have been able to work closer together - even working in the same room. As guitar player Charlie Ryder puts it: 'Yumi Zouma has always been an exercise in refining ideas and collaborating, but this was the first time we weren't limited or protected by distance ... the process was different, and it can be scary to present raw ideas to your friends - but it's also incredible to see songs evolve through the sparks of inspiration that bounce between people in the same room.' Hopefully Yumi Zouma will (and can) continue working this way - which is the 'regular', or 'normal' way for a band to work out songs, keeping their songs intimate, united, and with a perfect touch of shyness - like what's manifested with the songs on Yoncalla.

Copyright © 2016 Howard Popeye e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Yumi Zouma article/review: Keep It Close To Me.

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