Yumi Zouma – Willowbank

Yumi Zouma released their fourth album, Willowbank, this past October which delivered a sensual Parisian pop inspired sound that also explores an angle of heartbreak from the debating heartbreaker their self.

The album opens perfectly with “Depths (Pt. I)” which immediately showcases the growth this band has made with their sound from their past albums. With “Depths (Pt. I)” they have fully taken on a great dance sound accompanied with an outstanding guitar hook that harmonizes with lead singer Christie Simpson. The sound is as if it is derived from a mixture of 80’s, and French dance pop inspiration.

Simpson’s vocals encompass everything alternative female singers desire for: she has that soft sensual vocals but with a sense of power in a refined way that doesn’t make her sound like mush and get pushed to the back of the music. Which in turn allows the group to have been able to explore more dance heavy themed songs in between their usual sensual softer songs.

New Zealand natives, Yumi Zouma faced an unexpected turn of events in their lives after the 2011 earthquake that hit their hometown Christchurch which resulted in the band members to move to New York, and Paris and using the band as their way to stay in contact. But this move has inspired a new sound within them that has without a doubt, broaden their talent.

When looking at the core of the album with songs like “December,” it highlights their second theme of this album that isn’t as focused on their new found dance sound. This shows they still can carry this clean soft sound in songs that aren’t too dependent on being over-dominant with dance themes. They still have their soft charm from their past.

A beautiful example of the core of this album is “Half Moon.” This shows the hardship of a breakup, with a mixture of their Parisian dominate guitar pop sound with a hint of their soft original powerhouse sound personifies the moment perfectly. This alongside lyrics that tell a beautiful and relatable story make the charm of this album flourish.

This time I scream until I cry/ Then laugh for hours like we folded in half/ I think about it all the time, when I leave you it won’t be a clean goodbye

This album opened up a strength that will carry Yumi Zouma far if they keep growing in production of albums like this one.

By: Sara Wallace


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