Growing up idolising female-led rock bands like Blondie, The Cranberries and The Runaways, I was very excited to listen to the second full length album from New York trio Sunflower Bean, and Twentytwo in Blue does not disappoint. With a captivating variation in folksy female vocals and an accompanying male voice, the album provides forty minutes of indie political humanity and encapsulates a snapshot in the artists’ lives at the salient age of 22.
Due to the rock n’ roll feel to their music and the excellent contrasts of female and male vocals, the band are often compared to the likes of Fleetwood Mac – however I find that a more appropriate comparison would be to youthful talents like Haim, and the band have admitted drawing much inspiration from the creative genius of Gorillaz.
Writing and producing music from the perspective of 22 year olds allows a very clear journey of maturity from their 2016 album Human Ceremony which features a more angry political tone in their musicality, and whilst Twentytwo in Blue certainly addresses the current political climate, it shows a broader range of expression rather than being didactic in its message. ‘Any Way You Like’ couldn’t be further from ‘angry girl’ rock; it is a soft, carefully produced emotional number, and undoubtedly earns the spot of my favourite song on the album.
The name of the record was carefully chosen by the group to amuse the more conventional connotations behind the colour blue which would traditionally remind us of a melancholy approach, yet they reclaim this bright adjective to produce ideas of hopefulness and open resilience – a successful achievement as their music captures this very apt sensibility.
I have truly loved listening to this new talent over and over again, and expect to hear a lot more from Sunflower Bean in the future.
[Ellen Magee – @mondaymagee]