Sunflower Bean (photo by Andy DeLuca, PR)
Twentytwo in Blue
Mom + Pop Music
The three members of the band Sunflower Bean, all 22, wield their artistic abilities with the deftness and skill of seasoned veterans on their second album, Twentytwo in Blue. The New York trio of bassist and singer Julia Cumming, drummer Jacob Faber, and guitarist Nick Kivlen have been together for five years now, debuting in 2015 with an EP, Show Me Your Seven Secrets.
The band’s 2016 debut album, Human Ceremony, heralded the trio's fresh sound that was inspired by pop music’s past, but not merely rehashing what had come before. The same can be said of Twentytwo in Blue and Sunflower Bean's sweet, punchy rock that is often playful, occasionally serious, but always focused.
“I Was A Fool” is a contemplative song of self-examination, that drifts along on a bed of jangly guitars and a Fleetwood Mac-reminiscent rhythm section. The Fleetwood Mac nod returns at the album’s end, with Kivlen’s Lindsey Buckingham-inspired playing on “Oh No, Bye Bye.”
“Puppet Strings” is a dose of Seventies-era glam rock that’s equal parts T. Rex and Mott the Hoople. Fuzzed-out guitars also add an edge to the power pop gem, “Burn It" while Cumming’s ethereal vocals shine on “Only A Moment” and “Twentytwo." Dotting the album are moments when the political and social climate of the day drifts into the songs, like the tough “Crisis Fest” and the psychedelic freak out, “Human For.”
Twentytwo in Blue was co-produced by ex-Friends keyboardist Matthew Molnar, who produced Human Ceremony, and Unknown Mortal Orchestra bassist Jacob Portrait. The sessions took place, on and off, over the course of 2017 in Brooklyn.
Like all good second efforts, Twentytwo In Blue takes everything that made Human Ceremony a terrific debut, and builds and expands on those successes. Twentytwo in Blue is an album of distinctive lushness and toughness and Sunflower Bean is a young band with boundless promise.
Listen to an FUV Live concert with Sunflower Bean, recorded at Rockwood Music Hall, on Monday, April 2, at 8 p.m. on 90.7 WFUV, also streaming on demand in the FUV Archives.