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It has been over four years since New Zealand’s Yumi Zouma came to Chicago and their fans definitely missed them. On a stage adorned with flowers, the four piece serenaded and danced around for a full 75 minutes, playing a few of their older tracks as well as their best songs from 2020’s Truth or Consequences and their most recent release Present Tense. It was no surprise the devoted audience knew all the songs by heart, even when the latter album was just released last month.
Yumi Zouma’s songs are sweeter than any confection and very catchy. They reminisce a certain melodic pop sound that has tinges of a nostalgic Fleetwood Mac while simultaneously sounding modern in their sing-songy way that bears a little in common with bands like Canada’s Alvvays. Just about every song in their catalog could easily be a pleasing radio friendly hit. “Right Track / Wrong Man,” “Give it Hell,” and “In the Eyes of Our Love” are the kinds of songs that have the sort of light-hearted sensibility to elevate anyone out of a dark funk and came off especially well in concert.
Live, the band has a dynamic chemistry between the four of them. Their two guitarists/bassist/keyboardists, Charlie Ryder and Josh Burgess often switch places and jam out while the lovely Christie Simpson plays keyboard and sings at the front of the stage. Simpson is especially charming, caressing the mic like an old friend and frolicking around the stage at times like she’s hosting a fun party. Though the entire band genuinely enjoyed their adoring crowd, Burgess was the Kiwi with the most banter, talking about having deep dish pizza earlier that day and how he was reading a biography of Leonardo Da Vinci before introducing “Mona Lisa.”
Of course, even though the band seems to have picked up right where they left off and have shown they can still play songs like “The Brae,” which they played last time they were in town at Schubas as if no time has passed. They have also shown they can add significantly to their pop repertoire and supplement an ever growing catalog of memorable and whimsical songs that make a for a pleasurable soundtrack to the days of your life and certainly help you forget about so many modern troubles. Fans in the United States can still catch them on this tour
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