Yonaka ‘Seize The Power’ Album review by EJ Scanlan
YONAKA. A British indie-pop-rock band that has had everyone talking for quite a while now, and even got themselves a Prospect Music Award nomination in 2018, coming 11th overall. Their debut album, “Don’t Wait Til Tomorrow” got an overwhelming positive reception, despite me not personally being the biggest fan of the record. There are parts of YONAKA’s debut release that I love, with the vast majority of the album sounding like a greatest hits record being one, but I dislike the fact that it doesn’t feel like the band are living up to their full potential and a lot of tracks sounding boring and pointless compared to the rest of the album.
Going into the band’s new mixtape, “Seize The Power”, I’d heard four out of the eight tracks on here already, two out of the four are up there with some of the best of the year (see my Top 50 songs of the year Part I and Part II here), another is an incredible singalong track and the other one, is just… there. Despite that, I was excited to hear the band’s new release, as I’m a big fan of YONAKA, I love what they stand for, their better tracks are on repeat relatively frequently and I respect the band a lot, despite their not so good releases.
The opening track, “Ordinary”, released as “Seize The Power”’s second single is a gorgeous opener. All about living in the moment, “Ordinary” is a song that leaves you on the edge of your seat wanting more, while also making you want to mosh and headbang when we’re allowed to do it again (roll on Freedom Day on July 19th). It opens the mixtape very well, keeping the listener incredibly optimistic as we go through the eight-track release.
The title track from the EP is next up, and it’s certainly a change from its preceding song, but a one that’s definitely worth its while. “Seize The Power” is a genre-bending feminist anthem that is up there with their best work to date. It works incredibly well as a lead single and overall.
This is then preceded by “Get Out”, the first of the tracks we’re covering to not have been released as a single, though it baffles me as to why this wasn’t the case. “Get Out” is a sensational piece of work, featuring out of this world production, up there with some of the best of the year so far for me, Theresa Jarvis’ vocals are incredible here, the lyrics work incredibly well and the instrumentation is second to none. This song will well and truly be on repeat for me for a very long time.
“Raise Your Glass”, the final single released from YONAKA’s new mixtape, may not have been as strong as the first two singles, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun. Its energy is undeniably brilliant, along with the catchy singalong chorus, it has the full package. As we move onto the second side of the mixtape, “CLIQUE” sees the incredibly disappointing decline in quality after a punchy and memorable first half. Despite it not being a terrible song, the quality goes down the rabbit hole for this one compared to the stellar first act. The heavy metal sound definitely works with them but it seems incredibly out of place here, but Theresa’s vocals really work here. So what seems to be the main issue? It’s the feature of Jason 333 that drags this song down to its knees. The feature wasn’t needed and it gave nothing to it at all, in fact, it made it sound just awful. The lack of a feature would have been a lot better for the song, so I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed…
“Greedy” however, has similar issues as “CLIQUE” in the fact that it doesn’t belong on this mixtape. “CLIQUE” I can forgive however because it’s a good song. “Greedy” is not. It’s a song with pretty atrocious lyrics, doesn’t sound like YONAKA at all and the fact that it just doesn’t work as an overall song. Which is an absolute shame.
“Call Me A Saint”, the penultimate song off “Seize The Power” and to be released, is a good song for definite, despite it being the weakest of all four singles. The song feels like a proper track from YONAKA in a way that feels fresh and vibrant. Moving onto the final track from the mixtape: “Anthem”, featuring Barns Courtney, an artist I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing. A piano ballad, it’s a beautiful closer to the record, with spine-tingling vocals and gorgeous lyrics, the song is one of the better album closers of recent years.
In conclusion, “Seize The Power” is a great advancement for YONAKA. Their sound has progressed so well in a way that (mostly) works. However, it suffers from the same shortcomings as its predecessor, tracks that are so great that its lesser good stuff feels outcast and unnecessary. I feel as though the mixtape would work better as a 6-track EP rather than as a mixtape, as both “CLIQUE” and “Greedy” are songs that drag this project down to a level that it well and truly doesn’t deserve.
Ranking: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ and a half.
Highlight – “Get Out”
Lowlight – “Greedy”
Bangers – “Ordinary”
“Seize The Power”
“Raise Your Glass”
“Anthem” (feat. Barns Courtney)
Avoid – “CLIQUE” (feat. Jason 333)
SEIZE THE POWER MIXTAPE OUT 15TH JULY – PRE-SAVE HERE