Over their past couple albums, Yumi Zouma have proven that they’re cohesive as a band and able to pull you right into a sound. Sadly their latest release feels like more of the same from their last releases and doesn’t offer something with bite. While there’s certainly a lot of talent behind their music, they don’t seem confident enough to put something new and personal on the table.
Through a glossy haze, “Powder Blue/Cascine Park” rushes out with tons of vintage flair. The song’s dense production and invigorating hooks surround listeners and create a real sense of atmosphere to set a tone for the record. It’s a shame with so much effort in this feeling that the track lacks a strong edge and often feels a little too comfortable for its own good. Though Yumi Zouma do make great use of dynamics, they land in their old traps of emulating more than they take risks.
On this note however there’s a strong, driving groove to “Crush (It’s Late, Just Stay)” that makes you really want to dig into its strong dance-core. Even when much of the guitars and electronic pops feel all too familiar, Yumi Zouma take more of a stab at taking the writing in interesting directions. The bass itself even starts to punch more as the song goes on, which offsets the softer delivery from everyone else. This peaks in the bridge where every little detail in the song is highlighted surprisingly by taking just about everything loud away. Hopefully they can take some notes from this more varied sound to make music that starts to push boundaries in the future rather than relying on tested sounds.
Yumi Zouma do continue this trend unfortunately on “Looking Over Shoulders” while expanding the finer details of their sound somewhere powerful. While it’s hard to sustain a track on interesting mixes and instrumentation choices, there is a lot of merit to how they pull this one off. After so much of their music lacks a feeling of exciting passion, the build they pull out of their guitars and drums at the end of this track also show they’re not over the idea of making music. “In Camera” on the other hand tries to shake up their laidback energy with a lot more zest, to get preppy and hook-focused. This strong change of pace really makes their great sound feel emotive and takes it beyond being the main idea carrying a song.
Though Yumi Zouma clearly have a lot of strengths as creators, there seems to be such a reliance on playing it safe that they rarely create something to stand out. If they start using their amazing control of sound with a riskier mix of writing and more impassioned vocals, they may finally hit their stride.
Words by Owen Maxwell