During the course of this site’s 11-plus year history, I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering the acclaimed indie synth pop act Yumi Zouma. Last year, the JOVM mainstay act, which features members residing in New Zealand, the States and the UK, signed to Polyvinyl Record Co, who released their critically applauded, self-produced, third album Truth or Consequences, an album that thematically focused on distant — both real and metaphorical; romantic and platonic heartbreak; disillusionment and feeling (and being) out of reach.
Touring is often the important — and necessary — part of the promotional campaign for an artist’s or band’s new release. Before the tour, the artist or band will begin to figure out how to re-contextualize their new material and previously released material for a live setting, imagining how a crowd will react to what — and how — they’ll play in a set on tour. Much like countless acts across the worlds, the members of the acclaimed JOVM mainstay act had to cut their tour short and put the rest of their plans on hold, leaving scores of their devoted fans without the opportunity to hear the new album in a live setting.
Last October, Yumi Zouma released Truth or Consequences (Alternate Versions). The album was conceived as the band’s response to the lost opportunity to re-contextualize and explore the boundaries of the original album’s material through engagement with fans live.
The JOVM mainstays’ latest single “Give It Hell” is essentially classic Yumi Zouma — wistful and melancholy lyrics paired with breezy, hook-driven synth pop. As always, Christie Simpson’s gorgeous vocals float over an equally ethereal arrangement of glistening synth arpeggios and a gentle yet forceful motorik groove. But just underneath the song’s bittersweet air is a subtle celebratory note, a reminder that in the most difficult of circumstances, we need to be grateful for being here right now. Perhaps more than ever, “Give It Hell” is fueled by deeply personal experience:
“Before we went on stage for the only show we would play on our sold-out 2020 US tour, we held each other tight,” Yumi Zouma’s Josh Burgess says in press notes. “Fighting back the tears, someone said, ‘let’s give it hell tonight’. The next day, Truth Or Consequences was released. We drove to New York, took some photos, and dispersed back to our homes in the US, UK, and New Zealand. We haven’t been in the same room since. “To ‘give it hell’ is one of the strongest ways to stay present. Throwing yourself entirely into something, knowing it’s all you can give – it can be equal parts rewarding and humbling. This song encapsulates us digging deep, pushing through self-doubt, and being grateful for the purpose and process of making music together. Especially when it’s hard and feels futile. In the spirit of staying present, we wanted to release this song NOW, and not wait for any other moment than this one.”