The much hyped Brooklyn trio deliver a debut LP which takes their psych-pop sound to all manner of new destinations
Sunflower Bean’s debut album arrives on a wave of hype (not least the honour of being one of our 16 for 2016) which many bands might drown under. Thankfully, with Human Ceremony, the Brooklyn trio have more than managed to stay afloat and have served up a fascinating document of a band in their infancy, dabbling with different sounds as they search for their true identity.
From start to finish, you can hear their music evolve as different influences collide. The mainstays appear to be garage rock, early 70s riffage and the insouciant indie of the mid-80s. Perhaps the most impressive element is that most of these sounds seem to suit them. The fuzz pop of Come On sits comfortably alongside the Zeppelin-like I Was Home and the experiment in Krautrock Space Exploration Disaster.
Julia Cumming’s voice softens the edges of even the most far-out tracks on the album – 2013 and Creation Myth – and even though Nick Kivlen’s vocal parts occasionally misalign, as on the title track, there is a nice contrast between the two. This is echoed in the overall feel of the album; whether you like your guitars distorted or jangly there is plenty here to warm to. Where Sunflower Bean’s sound ends up is anyone’s guess but, for now, it’s enjoyable to join them as they search.
Verdict: The enjoyable sound of a young band finding their feet