Yumi Zouma has never had much of a home. After the 2011 earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand, its members moved to Paris and New York, except for singer Christie Simpson, who remained in Christchurch. To continue working the group emailed tracks back and forth, crafting dream-pop that feels like the air swooping in and out your lungs. For all its light atmosphere, Yumi Zouma's pop music is romantically, wistfully dense.
After a couple of EPs, last year's Yoncalla and this year's thoughtfully imaginative album-length tribute to Oasis' (What's The Story) Morning Glory?, Yumi Zouma is already back, reconvening in New Zealand last summer — which falls around December — to, for the first time, make a record in the members' home country. Willowbank is out in October, and its first single already shows the growth of a group that has finally shared a room together.
"December" sounds like the space between the home you knew and the home you know. Where she was quiet and soft-focused before, Christie Simpson's voice is more self-assured here, even raw when she sings: "Then we spent the night while your parents were gone / God I hope I'm right, but I can't deny."
With palm-muted guitars, quiet handclaps, melodies that swoop and soar, and horns that warm the soul, it's Perfect Pop via Flying Nun, which is just nerdy shorthand for two distinct pop sensibilities (Norway and New Zealand) that take tender care of twee arrangements. Wrapped up in a distant disco glare, Yumi Zouma sketches a hometown on holiday, perhaps bored from the smallness of its place, but holding onto its treasures for dear life.