6 Apr 2024

Review: EP IV by Yumi Zouma

From The Sampler, 2:30 pm on 6 April 2024
Yumi Zouma

Yumi Zouma Photo: Marisa Suda

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It's fair to say most relationships couldn't surpass a decade of long distance let alone a band making music across multiple time zones. While Yumi Zouma began in Ōtautahi Christchurch the band didn't start writing together until they were separated by seas and scattered across Islands.

The band features Christie Simpson, Josh Burgess, Charlie Ryder, and Olivia Campion, who live between The US, UK and Aotearoa. Their start as a group wasn't conventional either. They were asked to open for Lorde’s arena shows for thousands of fans and quickly signed to a label in New York. All before they had organised their first band practice. 

Soon Yumi Zouma would tour Europe and North America writing music and sending endless emails while each other were sleeping. The band's perseverance to find a way to perform and continue that dream can't have been easy, but you wouldn't know it listening to their latest record EP IV. The release is a colourful cluster of dreamlike songs revised through multiple remixed and instrumental offerings, and my favourite by the band to date. 

Opening song 'KPR' is a reassuring twist, evolving into glistening shoegaze layered guitar, cushioned by group vocal lines. EP IV was recorded in Tokyo, South of Shibuya at Studio Mech. Where the band were able to come together for three weeks in Japan and lay down new music outside of tour unlike their former 2022 album present tense which was recorded entirely remotely. 

The band were welcomed locally, meeting musicians Adaptrook and Neeche in Yutenji who both went on to make their own versions of songs. Like this electronic twist of Yumi Zouma’s Kicking up daisies. 

'Be Okay' starts as a soothing tonic for heartbreak and quickly builds morphing into a cathartic emo jam. Perhaps their days of recording albums in different islands are no longer. After 70 shows in 2023 across the globe. The band might have earned  the right to record in Tokyo together again. 

'Desert Mile' is full of the breadth the band shows as musicians. A plucky pop track with country twists that showcases the best of Yumi Zouma.

The band continues to go against the grain, choosing to release three versions of each song. Maybe that’s because each member had a different preference. Whatever the reasons, it's refreshing to have options and EP five has left us with plenty that sparkle.


Yumi Zouma

Yumi Zouma Photo: Marisa Suda