IN PRAISE OF: Sunflower Bean - Twentytwo In Blue

26 Mar 2018

"Not one song feels out of place or undercooked."


IN PRAISE OF, we explore the critical accliam of Sunflower Bean's sophopmore album 'Twentytwo In Blue'...

"Witnessing the progression of Sunflower Bean is like watching the most transcendent coming of age story. Their sophomore record 'Twentytwo In Blue' carries such a tangible sense of progression, yet it still simultaneously enhance those Sunflower Bean idiosyncrasies that we’ve come to love." - Clash

"Sunflower Bean are all grown up. Well, as mature as any bunch of 22-year-olds will ever be – but compared to when they burst onto the scene a couple of years ago, the NYC trio feel like a whole new band. Their 2016 debut ‘Human Ceremony’ was cobbled together from singles they penned as teens, though had considerable merits as a slice of old-school rock’n’roll paired with pop sensibilities. ‘Twentytwo in Blue’ is a different beast entirely.

This is where the group find their voice and prove that they truly have something to say. Take lead single ‘Crisis Fest’ – a call-to-arms rocker that’ll have you scribbling anti-establishment mottos on a placard pronto: "There’s a coup in our country/it’s happening now” runs Julia Cumming’s furious growl. Partly inspired by the current political landscape in the USA, there’s naturally a rebellious streak peppered throughout the album, as on ‘Burn It’ and ‘Human For’, alongside a distinct quality of humanity that the cronies in power could never harbour" - NME

"The reinvention reflects their emergence from teenage years (their debut was recorded when they were 19) into early adulthood, and a growing unease with the world. The album opener, Burn It, voices discomfort with changes in people and environments (“This town, I’ll burn it to the ground”). Other songs, such as Memoria and I Was a Fool, are laden with emotion, longing and a wistful nostalgia for more innocent times. Cummings channels Stevie Nicks at her most yearning on the sublime Twentytwo.

The air of dissatisfaction spills into the political arena just once – but with a bang, as glam-meets-garage rocker Crisis Fest lambasts Trump’s America, student debt, nuclear stockpiling and what awaits the young: “There’s a coup in our country, and it’s happening now.”" - The Gaurdian

"Unlike the psych-pop explorations of the band’s debut, SunflowerBean’s sophomore album, 'Twentytwo In Blue', is tighter in execution, broader in scope, and more pop-focused in nearly every way. Taken as a collection, it sounds like a jukebox full of lost ’70s hits. There’s the frequent Fleetwood Mac-style tracks such as 'I Was A Fool'; the power-pop flourishes of 'Crisis Fest'; the garage-rock stomper of 'Puppet Strings.' But all of them are threaded through with transitional guitar phrases and layered vocal melodies that refer back to the Beatles and the Byrds, even as singers Julia Cumming and Nick Kivlen shift their lyrical textures from grainy-gruff to sugar-sweet." - A.V. Club

"'Twentytwo in Blue' is the kind of album that has you zinging for references (Only a Moment is a little Joan as Police Woman; Human For is a little Polly Jean Harvey; Sinking Sands is a little bit Ohms or Alabama Shakes). All three members of the band are 22 (hence the name of the album, we guess) but there's not much sense of blue here. This is a record made by people who you sense are full of all of the possibilities of the world, looking to cram it all in and make some fine music as a soundtrack. They've done a pretty great job so far." - The Skinny

"From start to finish, the trio are concerned with taking apart the worries and anxieties of being young in this uniquely terrifying time, marching soldiers and fast-approaching darkness peeking between the gigantic, celebratory rock‘n’roll." - DIY

"For a trio in their early ’20s, this album possesses a strikingly sound level of judgement. Not one song feels out of place or undercooked. Even the more lighthearted tracks (like ‘Sinking Sands’, on which guitarist Nick Kivlen sings about his pal Max “thinking in comic sans”) feel like they belong, no matter how playful and whimsical the lyrics. With any justice, this’ll be the album that catapults them into being recognised as one of the most important artists in the game. But not to worry: as they croon on ‘Anyway You Like’, time is most definitely on their side. And it’s astonishing what they’ve done with it thus far." - NME

Sunflower Bean play a Friday night show at KOKO, 6 April.

Get tickets here!

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