The Fruit of Errata

Yumbo

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The Fruit of Errata Review

by Tim Sendra

The Japanese group Yumbo delivered a steady dose of gently experimental and happily twee chamber pop to those fortunate enough to hear their music in the 2000s and 2010s. Morr Music have done fans of the band and those who weren't lucky enough to follow their progression a service with the release of 2021's The Fruit of Errata. It collects songs from their four albums released over that span along with some single and EP tracks. Under the steady hands of bandleader/visionary Koji Shibuya, the group started off as a bedroom pop project, recording their simple and melodic songs using bells, toy percussion, the occasional guitar, and Shibuya's piano. They come across like Tenniscoats' more rambunctious younger siblings, capturing that band's outsider pop style while adding more melody, more structure, and even some trad jazz around the edges. Tracks like "A House," with its rambling and sweet melody that sounds lifted from a Left Banke B-side, or the lovely piano ballad "Storm" overcome their spare surroundings to seem like lost treasures from some time when fragile beauty was rewarded with massive record sales. The collection presents the band's songs in chronological order, and it's fascinating to hear their sound deepen and ripen after starting off almost perfect. As they began to work in studios and add fuller arrangements, it allowed the music to flower in even more beautiful fashion. By the time of their third album, 2011's That's Reality, Yumbo were making music on par with bands like Ladybug Transistor and the Pastels. One example of their brilliance is the effortlessly lovely "Since a Certain Day, Others," which features Ayuko Takayanagi's tender vocals, a full horn section, warm synths, and enough twists in the melody to fill a display case in a bakery. They had really hit on something magical, and they played with it by stripping back the sound, adding more to it, or adding guests (like members of LAKE on "The Devil Song"). The group's masterpiece is their 2016 album Onibi, and it's represented well here with many tracks that show just how adept a songwriter and arranger Shibuya had become. By now, the band weren't just up to par, they were making music that should have been hailed as genius. It wasn't at the time, but there's no reason it shouldn't be now. The Fruit of Errata is full of songs that tug at heartstrings, stir waves of sonic pleasure, and prove that music doesn't have to reach for the stars to achieve greatness. Yumbo are a band to be treasured and this album is a perfect jumping-off point for discovery.

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