Yumi Zouma are a New Zealand collective with a communal bond formed through growing up together and reconvening at home, where it all began. ‘December’ is a delicious earworm: shimmering guitars, clipped percussive rhythms roll like the tides of the ocean, while singer Christie’s vocals caress your ears, gorgeously sewn with intricate couplets, swelling into life affirming crescendos of horns and handclaps. There’s is a subtle pop sound that aches with a wistfulness somewhere between Beach House and Fleetwood Mac at their most ethereal, an almost tender calm in the eye of the storm. Although we may be some way from the festive season this is a heartwarming song as we embrace the Autumn to come. Keyboardist Josh Burgess credits some of the small, often mundane Kiwi traditions of family and home for influencing the mood. “New Zealand has a distinct feel from Christmas to the end of January. Things shut down. It has a calming presence, it’s very peaceful.”
It’s the first track lifted from their second album, Willowbank, which releases 6 October on Cascine. Having grown up together in Christchurch, New Zealand, the quartet of Christie Simpson, Charlie Ryder, Josh Burgess and Sam Perry scattered to different corners of the earth, creating their first album. For the making of Willowbank, the members of Yumi Zouma settled on a plan to head home for the New Zealand summer/Christmas holidays. To complete what would become their first significant work written and recorded entirely in their home country, they rented a studio in Christchurch’s semi-demolished CBD, on one of the few remaining blocks that still characterizes the city from before it was destroyed by a series of earthquakes.