The erratic and diverse sound of Sunflower Bean’s debut has been transformed into maturity and consistency on sophomore effort ‘Twentytwo In Blue’.
Rising from the ashes of their erratic 2016 debut Human Ceremony, Sunflower Bean are now fully-fledged. The New York trio’s debut was a concoction of singles created in care-free teen days, but Twentytwo In Blue is ripe, and has a tightness that the its predecessor lacked, and they’ve re-emerged more efficient with a more polished sound. Where Human Ceremony harboured a variety of genres, Twentytwo In Blue is very much in one lane. Over are the days of, skittish, just-see-what-happens indie energy and welcomed are the calmer, more-planned-out days of refined music.
Soft rock treads throughout this album nicely, with ‘Burn It’ specifically detailing the kinds of changes Sunflower Bean have collectively experienced. Speaking in a recent interview with Consequence of Sound, the band told that ‘Burn It’ is about the rage you feel when you notice something you love change and become unrecognizable… “in this case, it’s NYC, but it could be a metaphor for anything”. This is echoed through the lyrics “This town, I’ll burn it to the ground” and “I’m begging you to stay the same, your only constant is your changing”, strongly reminiscent of the sounds of Fleetwood Mac and treats us to a classic rock riff through the song.
But even if Sunflower Bean has somehow gone back in time to the 1970s and managed to harvest some essence of Fleetwood Mac, it doesn’t mean that they without their own sound ‘I Was A Fool’ gives a nod to the old blissful works of Human Ceremony.
‘Twenty Two’ introduces elements of folk-rock to Sunflower Bean’s sound, cleverly crafted with vocalist Julia Cumming calling to her inner poet stylings of Dylan Thomas, sweetly singing “I do not go quietly into the night that calls me”. Despite members of Sunflower Bean still being in their early twenties – still quite young – this song speaks of burdens and expectations that come hand-in-hand with ageing. Vocals on this track are all Cumming’s, which suggests that this is a song more about herself than the rest of the group. “The past is the past for a reason” goes ‘Memoria’, a wave goodbye to the past and a learning curve on becoming comfortable with it. ‘Any Way You Like’ sees co-vocalist Nick Kivlen and Cumming sing under each other, delivering harmonies on a message about compromise in relationships.
Twentytwo In Blue is endearing and brimming with life lessons, and stapled to each song on this album is a cunningly memorable verse and chorus on top of impressive instrumentation. A coming of age has brought about a change of sound, but this in the case of Sunflower Bean is certainly not a bad thing. (8/10) (Rebecca Corbett)
Listen to Twentytwo In Blue by Sunflower Bean here via Spotify, and tell us what you think below!
Tags: album, Jacob Faber, Julia Cumming, Lucky Number, Mom + Pop Music, Nick Kivlen, Rebecca Corbett, review, Sunflower Bean, Twentytwo In Blue
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