Yonaka – Seize the Power
After their widely praised 2019 debut, pop-punks Yonaka return with their new mixtape, Seize the Power.
Their genre has gone somewhat out of vogue in recent years, no longer dominating the charts as it did in its 2000s heyday. Although the likes of Machine Gun Kelly and Yungblud have attempted to spark a resurgence, and Olivia Rodrigo has caused a sensation in part by embracing her brattier inner punk, Generation Z’s alternative musicians have generally stuck to a lo-fi, more melodic template.
Seize the Power is not going to change that overnight, but is an interesting genre-blending record that shows how it might be done. Ordinary opens the mixtape with bombast, with echoing drums combining with vocalist Theresa Jarvis’s soaring tones on a track that unexpectedly veers into electronica.
The title track then takes the group in another direction with hints of the operatic hip-hop sensibilities of mid-period Kanye West. Jarvis raps on the track but does not abandon her Paramoresque vocals entirely, creating a song that could be described as a more melodic female-fronted version of the angsty hip-rock that made Linkin Park stars back in pop-punk’s salad days.
Anger management is in short supply on Get Out, but it’s possibly the standout pop effort on the album, the kind of song that one can imagine getting both teenagers and their reluctant mums and dads nodding along when it appears on the radio, with Jarvis’s vocal complimented by Alex Crosby’s thumping bassline and catchy keyboards.
After Raise Your Glass – a song that could be the lovechild of Taylor Swift and Avril Lavigne – there’s a lull as Yonaka experiment a little, but there’s still something of interest on Greedy, before things pick up again with Call Me Saint and epic closer Anthem. The latter, a slowed-down, thoughtful ballad, vies with Get Out for the title of the album’s best track, but has a different appeal. It’s not an exaggeration to say it wouldn’t be too out of place as the soul-baring track on a pop princess’s coming of age album.
One criticism is that Seize the Power doesn’t quite hang together as a full record. But perhaps that’s to be expected, given its billing as a mixtape. It does, however, show a band going places, whose ability to marry the emotionally open musical sensibilities of younger generations with punky anger may just mean pop-punk is coming back in a big way.
Seize the Power is released on 16th July 2021. For further information or to order the album visit Yonaka’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Seize the Power here: