Music

Yumi Zouma’s ‘Mona Lisa’ is an exquisitely honed slice of pop

Yumi Zouma never disappoints. Their brand new single Mona Lisa is alive with pop textures and effortless melodic sophistication.

Right from the outset, Yumi Zouma has carved out a strong identity. Several releases into the New Zealand quartet’s career, they continue to explore a tonal palette that’s rich in pop and electronica, yet somehow adjacent to both. The result is a sound that’s unmistakably their own and Mona Lisa is its freshest manifestation.

It’s also the second instalment of a triumphant return. Hot on the heels of Give it Hell, the band is in the process of reforming after being separated in far-flung corners of the globe and kept apart by the pandemic. Fans will be happy to know that the band’s chemistry is intact.

Yumi Zouma

The tastefully balanced tension that lies at the heart of Yumi Zouma sound is evident in the opening bars of Mona Lisa. Listeners are greeted with a celestial refrain, composed of reverberant vocal layers, then followed with earthy and intimate muted electric guitar, and slinky bass and drum grooves. Everything we love about this band — dreamy ethereal atmospheres coupled with the presence of a live band that sounds close enough to touch – is all there immediately.

The lyrical terrain, which has running themes of distrust and conflict, stretches out over the track’s undulating form. It blooms into lush choruses, echoing the bittersweet line, “darling, you don’t ever mean what you say.” The urgent riffs and percussion eventually lead to a subtle string arrangement and explosive sax solo.

Yumi Zouma

If it sounds like an unlikely combination of sounds, that’s probably because it is. But in the hands of Yumi Zouma, this colourful collection is expertly distilled into a pop song that you won’t forget anytime soon.

Mona Lisa is out now via PIAS. Listen to the single below: