Yumi Zouma make some of the most serene and comfortable pop I’ve heard all year. Originally from New Zealand (but now based mainly in New York and Paris), the misty three-person synthpop group have been on the blog radar with single “The Brae” and a 2014 EP that earned adoration from mp3 outlets like Gorilla vs. Bear. But unlike the previous two releases, EP II (distributed by indie starlet label Cascine) feels like the group has fully polished their breezy take on nostalgic pop; the band is no longer in chrysalis.
“Effortless” is a word that’s been used to describe this group, whose particular brand of dream pop is a display of seamless hook-writing supported by hollow, feathery instrumentation, evoking the listening equivalent of diluted watercolors. This is all tied together neatly by Kim Pflaum’s soft vocals.
It’s dance pop sandpapered into something more spherical, the hooks arrive before you notice, catapulting into sugary melodies. The reverb is just right, echoing but clear enough to not seem like the group is masking some flaw, while Pflaum’s vocal harmonies recall a sunday choir girl who’s since ditched church for solitude. The vocal production at times sounds like Twin Shadow’s Forget and the instrumentation recalls the 80s revival craze a few years back. This isn’t a diss, it’s to say this music isn’t exactly unfamiliar, but nobody’s done it this well in a long time.