Summer Songs For Winter People, Yamamoto

Summer Songs For Winter People, Yamamoto
The Poni Republic, Mexico
Rating: 60

By Jean-Stephane Beriot

After a ridiculously long time without any releases, The Poni Republic is back with the Summer Songs For Winter People, the comeback of Tijuana duo Yamamoto. They happen to be the first artist to get publishing through the netlabel and after five years of preparation, Mario Supereit and Brenda J are back with a new set of whimsy songs. The album doesn’t lack any personality per say, but I’m afraid it’s hardly distinctive at any level. The charm is certainly there, the concept is blurry but [perhaps] on the right hands. And the songs… well, they’re quite random, unfortunately not random on their sound but on their quality.

It’s not like I’m applying Matias Aguayo’s call of “no me gusta minimal”, it’s just that Yamamoto, like so many other bands out there are adding on to a misguided concept of lo-fi where to be cute means to create delicate (usually boneless) songs. Their debut EP was certainly an adorable surprise, and the band still holds much of that cuteness, but also the same limitations. That notion of desperation in songs like “Sound Asleep” or “Life Like Math” shows the fixation to work around the complexity of folk with minimal intervention from the band itself.

Technically Summer Songs For Winter People is an outstanding piece, its content (or lack of content) is the problem here. I confess I’m forcing myself to like this; the surface is adorable but also empty and quite boring, yet I'm willing to recommend it because there's just too much charm here to waste. When I decided to dig deeper into the lyrics, to perhaps, resolve the longing music, only to find weak and inexpressive refills. This is the opposite of say, something whimsical but dazzling as Balun’s Memoria Textil. “Race Car” would be an exception, if only because it justifies its nominal existence.