In 2014, Sunflower Bean were dubbed the hardest working band in New York City by OhMyRockness. Two years later, the young trio have released their first full-length LP, Human Ceremony. The band draws from a variety of influences and styles – drummer Jacob Faber and guitarist Nick Kivlen grew up on Long Island and played in classic rock bands that covered the likes of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd while bassist Julia Cumming was a young model from Manhattan. This unexpected partnership, however, has resulted in one of the most exciting bands in the world today.
From the first 10 seconds of the title track, “Human Ceremony”, you can feel that Pink Floyd vibe, dreamy guitar work that would fit in right in the middle of a section of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” and a raw bass line with Julia Cumming’s voice floating over the whole thing. They pick up the pace immediately with “Come On”, a real ripping rocker that shows off the really awesome guitar licks of Kivlen. Then there’s “2013”, which is a real, dark, new wave-inspired track.
“I Was Home” is one of my favorite tracks on Human Ceremony. It has a punk-rock vibe guided by Faber’s fast-paced drumming while the leads from Kivlen are roaring, mixed with awesome call-and-response parts, and a jamming solo. Sunflower Bean gets shoegaze-y on “Creation Myth”. The song starts off on a beautiful note with some really gorgeous guitar work and Cumming’s voice seemingly floats over the whole thing before it takes a 360-degree turn about two-thirds of the way in and becomes a total monster.
There’s so much on Human Ceremony, from the poppy “Easier Said” and “I Want You To Give Me Enough Time” to the driving bass lines of “This Kind of Feeling” and “Wall Watcher”. On Human Ceremony’s penultimate track, “Oh, I Just Don’t Know”, Kivlen and Cumming share the lead vocal role, interchanging like Velvet Underground and Nico. It’s a great change of pace before the album comes to a close with the hard rocking “Space Exploration Disaster”, which has the infectious lyrics “run away from the planet”. Good luck getting that one out of your head.
There’s a reason Sunflower Bean was one of our artists to watch this year. They’re truly one of the most exciting bands out there this year. Their debut LP Human Ceremony most definitely lived up to the hype, and the fact that they are as young as they are has us excited for whatever may come in the future. But for now, we’re going to enjoy their debut album, which is already one of the best of the year and we imagine it will stay there come December 31st.
Human Ceremony is out now via Fat Possum.
Sunflower Bean kick off their US Tour on February 25 in New York, check out their full tour dates here.
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