ALBUM REVIEW: Sunflower Bean capture youthful resistance on ‘Twentytwo in Blue’

Sunflower Bean Teragram 2018 mainbar

New York indie rock trio Sunflower Bean have crafted an excellent sophomore record that should top a lot of year-end Best of 2018 lists.

Twentytwo in Blue¬†(out March 23 via Mom + Pop) is my frontrunner for my favorite album of 2018 so far — it’s chock full of gems that span a multitude of sounds. There’s the beautiful ballad “Twentytwo” where singer Julia Cumming sounds her most Jenny Lewis, and there’s bangers like “Crisis Fest” — a millennial call-to-arms of sorts that is perfect for the fucked up place the country seems to be in at the moment.

On “Twentytwo”, the group has perfectly captured what it’s like to be that odd age of 22 — where you feel like you’re a real adult but still grappling with many of the trappings of immaturity. “I do not go quietly into the night that calls me even when I’m alone” is one of the best sign-offs of any track this year.

But there’s so much depth to the record beyond the first few singles. “Easier Said” features Cumming channeling some Chrissie Hynde at her most sentimental and raw (think “Stand By You”).

“Burn It” has kicked off their sets lately, and I never tired of seeing the band play it five times over the course of two weeks (Moroccan Lounge and four SXSW sets). It’s the most Thin Lizzy sounding of their songs, with a really fun riffy guitar part by guitarist Nick Kivlen driving the tempo. I am in love with the lyric “I’m begging you to stay the same / Only constant is you’re changing,” Cumming sings, with Kivlen on backing vocals.

You can become completely lost in Cumming’s acid-drenched vocals on “Memoria” — “the past is the past for a reason” she sings in the melancholy chorus. On “Human For”, the band gets its most basic with a garage-rock sounding rhythm obscuring Cumming’s protest — “I don’t need your religion / I don’t need your protection / I don’t need you to fit in.”

It’s honestly in my mind a perfect record and Pitchfork can go fuck right off with their garbage ranking of this album. I expect to still be blasting this months and years after the release has faded into the past.

The trio has also announced they will return to Los Angeles with a ton of buzz following the release of their sophomore album. After wowing the crowd at a sold-out gig at the Moroccan Lounge, the group will move to the bigger Teragram Ballroom downtown on June 15!

Tickets to see Sunflower Bean at the Teragram Balroom on Friday, June 15 are on sale now and modestly priced at $16.00. Doors open at 8 PM Pacific Time with opening act Jesse Jo Stark set to play at 9 PM.


Sunflower Bean at Moroccan Lounge photo by Danielle Gornbein

Sunflower Bean deliver short but sweet set at Moroccan Lounge