Sunflower Bean find magic within friction. The New York trio’s full-length debut album, Human Ceremony [Fat Possum Records], emerges at the intersection of dreamy modern psychedelica and urgent fuzzed-out bliss. That push-and-pull colors the aural tapestry of these three musicians—Jacob Faber [drums], Julia Cumming [vocals/bass], and Nick Kivlen [vocals/guitars].
“Everything comes from a conflicting interest,” affirms Nick. “We love dream pop, but we also really love rock ‘n’ roll. It’s those two spectrums.”
“You’re allowed to obsess over Black Sabbath as well as The Cure,” adds Julia. “It’d be boring if everything was just one way or the other.”
That diversity defined the group’s approach since Nick and Jacob started jamming back in high school. They would hole up in Jacob’s Long Island basement for hours on end, channeling this vast cadre of influences. Julia’s addition would only expand that creative palette further in 2013.
Through constant gigging around New York, Sunflower Bean sprouted into a sonic enigma, boasting a fiery musical call-and-response that serves as a centerpiece, giving the music what Jacob refers to as a “lyrical aspect” between the guitars, drums, and bass.
They transferred this multi-headed energy into their 2015 Independent EP, Show Me Your Seven Secrets. At the same time, this distinct alchemy enchanted ever-growing audiences live. By the time, they entered the studio for Human Ceremony, Sunflower Bean had a lively aural cauldron from which to draw.
They took the summer of 2015 off and retreated to Jacob’s basement to write together. Taking the ideas out of the basement, they hit a Brooklyn studio with producer Matt Molnar [Friends] and tracked eleven tunes in just seven days. Whereas the EP was recorded after Sunflower Bean played 100 shows in one year, Human Ceremony showed the band’s studio side with richer soundscapes, overdubs, and music that had yet to be debuted live.
On the lead track “Easier Said,” Julia’s delicate vocals glide over a lilting clean guitar that spirals off into a vibrant hum.
Sunflower Bean’s spell is cast on Human Ceremony.
“When you’re in a band, you always dream about the first record,” Julia concludes. “It’s that moment where you explore everything that’s been inspiring you.”
Sunflower Bean return to London for a headline show at the Scala on September 15 following a hugely exciting February show at The Dome.
The product of a thriving Brighton scene that includes The Magic Gang, Dream Wife and Abattoir Blues, the band are capable of switching from stark tenderness to pulverising noise in a flash. Nathan's honest, personal lyrics float in a delicious array of sounds: rhythmic drum and guitar hooks make dynamic jumps to thick garage-rock riffs, then suddenly cut to beautiful, intimate moments of lone guitar and reverb-hugged vocals.
The trio have recently been playing with the likes of Genghar, TRAAMS, The Wytches, Peace, Oscar and Sunflower Bean, building up a head of steam that has seen them singled out by Lauren Laverne for special attention on BBC 6 Music, with the eponymous track 'Our Girl' selected for the DJ's MpFree feature. Soph Nathan, bassist Josh Tyler and drummer Lauren Wilson have been developing their devastating sound ever since, Their first physical release, ‘Sleeper’ released on Cannibal Hymns received critical acclaim and national radio play on Radio 1, XFM and Amazing Radio. The trio release the follow up to ‘Sleeper’ this autumn.
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