Sunday, December 18, 2016

Albums of the Year # 8 Sunflower Bean

Perhaps the best live band I saw this year and a great album. Here's my post from early in this year:

Some album this. Just out. Produced by an unfeasibly young Brooklyn trio. It's inventive, ambitious and incredibly brave and varied, never sitting still for a moment, a single second of its eleven tracks. Its an incredible leap forward for the band from their initial releases from last year. It's one sustained giddy rush of youth.

To my mind it most recalls a poppy reconstruction of Sonic Youth, devoid of the sustained heaviness, with Kim and Thurston alternating on the mike. The band also reference The Velvet Underground & Nico album in interviews and though their own record rarely sounds like that, (although they do touch on the lyrical sentiments of Heroin in penultimate track Oh I Just Don't Know the title of which must be a deliberate quote), it does draw from it in its desire to make the grand statement. There are also echoes of the first Beach Fossils album which they've also name-checked and all kinds of British music of the eighties and nineties, from Felt to The Sundays. They also know how to turn the power switch on and do the Sabbath thing.

But it's also its own trip. Glittering and psychedelic and giving yet another demonstration of the glorious possibilities for sheer noise offered by the three-piece rock set-up if that needed further proof, following in the footsteps of The Who, The Jimi Hendrix Experience Husker Du, Nirvana et al. 

They're a very odd looking set of individuals to find themselves in a band together. The Ramones, they're not despite the leather jackets in the photo below. A slightly gothy looking blond female bassist and vocalist, a spit for the young Dylan on guitar and secondary and occasional lead vocals a long haired, moustachioed and slightly sullen drummer. A new kind of gang.

It'll be interesting to watch where Sunflower Bean go from this. They're riding their own small wave. Currently on a tour of Europe, they're sure to be back and get bigger.The album's coming to an end  now, having listened to it for the course of writing this. It's a cracker. Rarely has such a good record been made by ones so young.

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