In a New York City bodega, some five years ago, three high school students witnessed a pseudo convenience store employee turned door man bolt for an exit, shoving wads of cash in his pockets as police sirens drew nearer and nearer. The NYPD had come to bust yet another New York DIY music space. Although Nick Kivlen and Jacob Faber were not able to take the stage that night, they were able to have a conversation with Julia Cumming about the new band they planned on creating, Sunflower Bean. At that moment Cumming knew her destiny was to be a part of that musical venture.
Fast-forward to 2018, the trio are all 22 years of age, hot on the heels of releasing their sophomore album, Twentytwo in Blue (March 2018). Human Ceremony, Sunflower Bean’s debut album, was the product of the band’s live performances. What came of that record was an impressive tour schedule, a lot of buzz, and opening slots turned to headlining showcases.
Twentytwo in Blue is something entirely unique of that. The followup LP suggests a vulnerability in the band, an exploration of what lies within them when the crowd retreats. The result? A sophisticated memoir of growth during a time of personal restlessness due to hectic touring schedules coupled with an era of political unrest.
The album navigates unanswerable questions with sultry ease. At times calls to action were hurled, like “Crisis Fest” and “Burn It,” but at others, the tempo eases to allow room for sonically rich textures and tones, like “Twentytwo” and “I Was a Fool.” Notes of ’60s psychedelia mesh with ’70s metal to brim Twentytwo in Blue full of lush breakdowns and transitions.
In a true testament of unyielding maturation, Cumming sings, “the past is the past for a reason,” on “Memoria.” Sunflower Bean have rerouted, full speed ahead into the horizon of, not what is to come, but what they will cultivate for themselves creatively through art and music.
Read our interview with Julia of Sunflower Bean at Atwood Magazine