After their exceptional sophomoric album, Twentytwo in Blue, which we called, “A thrilling ride which lands a solid sonic punch right in your guts” and their exceptional take-down of Brighton’s Concorde 2 a couple of weeks ago, we were honoured to chat to Sunflower Bean about their Top 40 record, making music in the American political landscape, and sitting Theo from Wolf Alice down to play him the record in full.
“We just wanted to thank you for making our record go into the Top 40. We’re an American band with no money, so it means a lot,” Julia Cummings said halfway through their Brighton gig, which only went further in cementing their place as one of the most exciting indie bands in the world right now. With two albums under their belt now, Sunflower Bean have become one of the most confident, diverse and exciting live bands of their generation, and their live show further showcases this, as well as revealing Julia Cummings as one of the best voices in modern rock.
Sunflower Bean are a trio of extremely young retro rockers from America, delivering their second album right on schedule: two years and two months after the first. Twentytwo In Blue hits our shelves and screens at the point that all three band members have reached the grand-old-age of 22. It’s worth bearing in mind just how young they were, writing these songs barely out of their teens, in a band that’s been active since they were all 17. We’ve seen quite a few acts with similar youth and dedication to the musical past over the last few years. I could argue these guys sit comfortably between Haim and The Lemon Twigs but, really, their circumstantial similarities don’t come across when you listen to the actual music, as tempting as it is to follow the old music-journalist trope of lumping bands together to aid a sweeping grand narrative. I’m fascinated, though, to see bands who weren’t even born the first time I bought an album, rejecting the palette of modern electronic pop music in favour of familiar sounds from their parent’s record collections, from when melody and musicianship seemed to be the vital and essential drivers of music culture.