Sunflower Bean find magic within friction. The New York trio’s full-length debut album, Human Ceremony [Fat Possum Records], emerges at the intersection of dreamy modern psychedelica and urgent fuzzed-out bliss. That push-and-pull colors the aural tapestry of these three musicians—Jacob Faber [drums], Julia Cumming [vocals/bass], and Nick Kivlen [vocals/guitars].
“Everything comes from a conflicting interest,” affirms Nick. “We love dream pop, but we also really love rock ‘n’ roll. It’s those two spectrums.”
“You’re allowed to obsess over Black Sabbath as well as The Cure,” adds Julia. “It’d be boring if everything was just one way or the other.”
That diversity defined the group’s approach since Nick and Jacob started jamming back in high school. They would hole up in Jacob’s Long Island basement for hours on end, channeling this vast cadre of influences. Julia’s addition would only expand that creative palette further in 2013.
Through constant gigging around New York, Sunflower Bean sprouted into a sonic enigma, boasting a fiery musical call-and-response that serves as a centerpiece, giving the music what Jacob refers to as a “lyrical aspect” between the guitars, drums, and bass.
They transferred this multi-headed energy into their 2015 Independent EP, Show Me Your Seven Secrets. At the same time, this distinct alchemy enchanted ever-growing audiences live. By the time, they entered the studio for Human Ceremony, Sunflower Bean had a lively aural cauldron from which to draw.
They took the summer of 2015 off and retreated to Jacob’s basement to write together. Taking the ideas out of the basement, they hit a Brooklyn studio with producer Matt Molnar [Friends] and tracked eleven tunes in just seven days. Whereas the EP was recorded after Sunflower Bean played 100 shows in one year, Human Ceremony showed the band’s studio side with richer soundscapes, overdubs, and music that had yet to be debuted live.
On the lead track “Easier Said,” Julia’s delicate vocals glide over a lilting clean guitar that spirals off into a vibrant hum.
Sunflower Bean’s spell is cast on Human Ceremony.
“When you’re in a band, you always dream about the first record,” Julia concludes. “It’s that moment where you explore everything that’s been inspiring you.”
Videos & Press
[Fader] The New York band’s Basement Covers EP is out on September 9. By Jordan Darville Sunflower Bean aren’t secretive about their influences. Their debut EP Show Me Your Seven Secrets contains a song called “Tame Impala,” for one. Legendary troubadour Jonathan Richman was similarly unshy about his deference, naming one song “Velvet Underground” after […]
[NME] Halfway through the year, 2016 is already a vintage year for the album, with many of music’s big-hitters releasing their new works on the world. The year started in a devastatingly bittersweet way, with a brilliant new David Bowie album released just two days before he died of cancer. Then came Rihanna’s ‘Anti’, which […]
[Teen Vogue] Sunflower Bean is one to watch. By Ariana Marsh You won’t get digitally engineered beat drops or über-poppy anthems from this musical trio. Instead, Sunflower Bean brings something refreshingly #TBT to the plate for a youthful band in this day and age: good old-fashioned rock ’n’ roll. “When we first started the group […]
[Noisey / Music By Vice] By Kim Taylor Bennett Standing on a Brooklyn rooftop at the frigid tail end of January, Julia Cumming shrugs off her coat, smoothes down her jumpsuit, and strikes a pose. The singer and bassist of Sunflower Bean adopts a come-at-me-if-you-dare stare and although the wind ripples her hair and goosebumps […]
[NPR] Guitar excursions, great singing and a sense of humor is what Bob Boilen found in Sunflower Bean at a concert in 2014. Finally, the band’s debut album has arrived and it delivers all of the above in eleven splendid bursts of pop guitar-driven songs. Human Ceremony is out now on Fat Possum Records.
[Rolling Stone] Human Ceremony Sunflower Bean Fat Possum By Jon Dolan Brooklyn psych-pop kids bring the heat on a noisy, pretty debut Listening to the debut album from Brooklyn trio Sunflower Bean is a bit like flipping through some smart stoner’s impeccably refined record collection. All the correct drone-rock references are present: the Velvet Underground […]
[Rolling Stone] How the trio channeled their passion for Pink Floyd, Zeppelin and the Velvets into the killer ‘Human Ceremony’ By Simon Vozick-Levinson Growing up on Long Island, Nick Kivlen and Jacob Faber barely knew any other kids at their high school who listened to rock & roll. “You don’t know that rock music exists […]