Release Day: Yumi Zouma - EP II

Will Shenton

Originating in Christchurch, New Zealand, dream-pop outfit Yumi Zouma has been captivating us since the release of their sparsely-titled 2014 debut EP, and we’re happy to say they’ve done it again with EP II, out today on Cascine. The new tracks seem to draw from a more disparate array of influences than their previous effort, and demonstrate a pleasantly surprising degree of maturation for the band.

Where EP tended toward more ambient territory, EP II plays with pop elements that make it somewhat more accessible to the average listener. “Alena” sports an energetic chorus that proves the group isn’t afraid of a little dancing, and “Catastrophe” is a sprawling, cathartic ballad that’s catchy enough to hang around in your head long after it’s over. But they haven’t abandoned their roots (I guess they’re not really roots if they’ve only put out a total of, like, ten tracks). “Dodi” and “Second Wave” are both more along the lines of washed-out vaporwave, and “Song For Zoe & Gwen” hovers somewhere in between with its driving, up-tempo percussion and nostalgic synths.

For a band whose members are usually separated by thousands of miles – after the Christchurch earthquake in 2011, they spread out to Paris and New York as well – there’s an impressive cohesion to Yumi Zouma’s style and songcraft that sets them apart from a dream-pop scene that's exploded in recent years. Because they have the chops to craft genuinely intricate music, they avoid the pitfalls of boring repetition that plagues a number of their contemporaries. EP II just as novel and engrossing as their debut, and we expect even more great things in the not-too-distant future.

Don't miss Yumi Zouma's album release show at Cameo Gallery in Brooklyn this Friday, March 13th.