With my two major workouts behind me, I still have approximately 30 minutes to kill until HRH is released from her “Leader Corp” class somewhere in the nether recesses of the building. I have no idea what they do or where they go but as long as she’s happy,learning something and not being sold into slavery I’m okay with keeping myself occupied. And this evening that keeping occupied just happens to include a little bendy-stretchy and the ‘Human Ceremony‘ album by Sunflower Bean.
Now, I know your first thoughts were probably “what kind of fucking name is that?”, and maybe, “I bet this is just going to be more of your hippie shit, right Terry?”. And while I tend to agree with your first line of questioning, if that second thought popped into your head then I would respond with an emphatic “No, sir! It is not”.
But first things first: who is this Sunflower Bean?
Basically, they just about the coolest thing to emerge from Long Island, New York since the Velvet Underground. They share as much a love for Metalica and the Foo Fighters as they do for, say, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. After they graduated in 2013, they were gigging around New York as Sunflower Bean, with Nick Kivlen on guitar and vocals and Jacob Faber behind the kit. The band really took off after they added singer and bassist Julia Cumming, a kindred spirit from Manhattan who was studying classical singing at a performing-arts high school but preferred Seventies glam instead.
This album is their debut album that reflects all these influences and more, whirling with glee through decades of sweet riffs and psychedelic thrills. So, yeah, that should answer your “hippie shit” question. Basically, you could think of the album as the band trying on 11 different genres over the course of the entire album to see what fits. There’s elements of Lush, The Cure, the Sundays, Sonic Youth, Smashing Pumpkins, et al – a total grunge meets shoegaze. Oh, and it’s all done with a certain childish naivete, as is evident in song titles like ‘Space Exploration Disaster‘. Basically, it’s like listening to the Cocteau Twins if they were fronted by say, Justine Frischmann of Elastica. Cereal. Tracks like ‘I Was Home‘ and ‘Creation Myth‘ are absolutely brilliant.
Oh, and for the record: I love the band name, “hippie shit” or not. And with this 30 minutes in the bag it’s off for a dinner of duck sliders and cheese plates at The Sanctuary as per “Daddy-daughter date night”.