Review: Sunflower Bean – Human Ceremony


This may be a big call, but if David Lynch’s upcoming Twin Peaks series were to feature a soundtrack of dreamy indie artists, Sunflower Bean could understandably take a slot. The three piece band from Brooklyn are a pleasant fusion of sugary sweet late 80s pop and dreamy indie rock, with sneaky moments of heavy Sabbath breakdowns and light breathy vocals somehow all finding their way onto their debut release ‘Human Ceremony’.

The album features 12 tracks that are each easily distinguishable from the next, which may be a reflection of the band’s development to find their signature sound. The opening track ‘Human Ceremony’, starts the album strong with vocalist Julia Cummings and Nick Kivlen sharing the track in unison. The song is a layer cake of soothing, swirling riffs, skipping beats and Cummings’ soft vocals. One may find the lyrics a little undercooked, but as the listener progresses, this doesn’t seem to apply to every track.

Some tracks are just purely confusing upon first listen. That can be tested in ‘Creation Myth’, where pretty vocals could have ended where they obviously should have ended, but instead the song bursts into random a heavy interval. Also the popular ‘2013′ can be at first annoying with the exchange of lyrics word-for-word between Cummings and Kivlen, but after time I found this was a respectful nod towards alt-rockers, Sonic Youth. ‘Oh I Just Don’t Know’ seems much like a preacher’s recovery cushion after the unexpected and wild twists of ‘Creation Myth’ and ‘Watching You’

Catchy tracks like ‘Watching You’ will have you shoulder twitching and itching to dance it out. Another favourite is ‘I Was Home’ for its lush indie rock and roll sounds. The dual vocals are fun and bright and the rolling solo towards the end gives this song a sugary coating of dreaminess before taking it home for another heavy-hitting 15 seconds longer.

Overall this album didn’t stir my inner fan-girl, but I believe there is still so much more to come from Sunflower Bean and I highly anticipate the future of this band.

melissa barrass


Review by Melissa Barrass.