Albums and EPs are so 2020. Yonaka have re-invented the mixtape with their latest release, ‘Seize The Power’. The dark-pop outfit reclaim the almost defunct medium to slide neatly between the former record structures; no longer are these the reserve of teens nostalgic for a decade in which they weren’t even alive.
At first you may wonder why they didn’t either trim the excess and make it a standard EP, or wait a bit and make it a fully fledged album, but barely one song in, and the intent becomes crystal clear: this record holds a message that could not wait any longer. Not only are musicians on their backsides after over a year of uncertainty, but they (and everyone else) have been systematically let down and even undermined by those who insist that they have our best interests at heart. The frustration at the current state of affairs is palpable throughout ‘Seize The Power’.
Here Yonaka inspire a degree of rebellion against a status quo that hasn’t worked for some time. Whether it’s the titular track that speaks to the dissatisfaction in all of us to break the mould of a repressive society, or the anger-fuelled commentary on the broken economic structure of the music industry that works artists to the limit just to milk more than their fair share of profits (‘Greedy’), Yonaka‘s electro-tinged pop-rock is a call to action more than it is a mere vent of pent up emotion.
We expect anti-establishment anthems from punk, but slipping it into more accessible club beats pushes its message further beyond its expected borders. ‘Raise Your Glass’, with its motivational and symphonic chorus, has a broad enough appeal to slide into mainstream playlists, and the unsuspecting soul who goes from this to the blaring rage of ‘Clique’ might be amazed that this is even the same band.
Flitting between self-care melody and revolutionary spirit finally makes sense with the mixtape closer, ‘Anthem’; “I seen it in the videos, people just like you and me are taking back control.”
It’s ironic that Yonka use the slogan from the movement that might have been the single worst thing to happen to UK bands in history (i.e. the restriction of freedom of movement) to throw it back in the powers-that-be’s faces. Maybe it really is time to actually take back control.