New Zealand Cascine signees Yumi Zouma could well be one of the most invigorating prospects of 2014 so far, excelling at frontier-grinding pop, vying for disco domains rather than the current genres du jour, R&B and soul. The Kiwi threesome are currently divided between three continents, but these jetsetting e-collaborators haven't lost any heart by not being within prodding distance – there's just as much honesty and warmth in Yumi Zouma's outpourings as if they were crammed into a sardine can together. But you surely know all this already. They've been everywhere.
We've already been graced with streams of the release's offerings, but it doesn't deaden their effect – every listen is a precious boon. 'The Brae' is an azure lagoon flanked by swooning palm trees in mid-spring – warm, but not hot. Bright, but not blinding. There's a shade of Summer Camp splashed into the '90s dreampop. It's an understated anthem that will leave a satisfyingly sweet aftertaste. Breezy, astral guitars swarm Kim Pflaum's cooing vocals – and though lyrics are considerably less sugary than the splendid hooks and dazzling harmonies belie: "You threw me and you screwed me and you fed me to the fishes/ like we've never been together and I'm only just a vision," Pflaum apathetically spits á la a caustic Lorde (and that link isn't just because they're both from NZ).
It's a contrast they expand upon throughout their debut – mixing benzo-disco and ketamine-pop with mordant poetics, which, unless you're listening hard, are perfectly peppy. It's difficult to ascertain the anxiety, the sadness and anger of Yumi Zouma's music, as they're mostly covered by smooth louge-jazz ('A Long Walk Home For Parted Lovers') or Weeknd-cum-Mausi electronics ('Riquelme' – as far as we can tell that's either a nod to a Paraguayan lingerie model or a footballer from Argentina). The juxtaposition is grand, nonchalant trickery. It's the kind of noise that'll get you on tables shakin' what your mama gave you; that is until the wave of realisation hits you and you bawl drunkenly into a strangers sweaty pits.
Yumi Zouma's EP is wonderful. It's a delightful taster of what's (hopefully) to come – and let's hope sooner rather than later. As many have already noted, this is summer music and just as Theme Park did last year, Yumi Zouma would be utter fools not to consolidate their dominance in the genre by dropping something else around, say, July. This is just what us Brits need right now, considering the pesky storm-siege this tea-swilling archipelago is slowly succumbing to. It's something that reminds us that we will, eventually, have our annual three days of sunshine.