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Tuesday October 19th

Meet Sunflower Bean, the NYC trio with a glamrock sound

Sunflower Bean, a rock band from New York, played at Cat's Cradle on June 3.
Buy Photos Sunflower Bean, a rock band from New York, played at Cat's Cradle on June 3.

Hailing from Brooklyn, N.Y., American rock band Sunflower Bean made a stop at Cat’s Cradle Sunday as a part of their international tour spanning the US and the UK. 

All of the band members are just 22 years old. They released their second album Twentytwo in Blue almost two years and two months after their critically acclaimed album Human Ceremony debuted in 2016. 

The record was co-produced by Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Jacob Portrait and HC-producer Matt Molnar of Friends. 

Pitchfork contributor Ian Cohen was spot-on in describing Sunflower Bean as a band that is “never more than two degrees removed from Fleetwood Mac” and quite reminiscent of a co-ed, edgier version of HAIM.

The band is undisputedly soft rock, with glossy undertones that contain fiery messages of “changing the system” by fighting against current political and social structures. They are fervent, yet polished, with memorable melodies and attention-grabbing hooks about breakups, discovering your spirituality, and accepting change.

Julia Cumming, Nick Kivlen, and Jacob Faber make up the Sunflower Bean trio, each exhibiting their own effervescent style on stage. Kivlen wore a denim ensemble with a silver lining on the collar and shirt pocket, while Yves Saint Laurent muse Cumming wore a royal blue sleeveless dress draped with electric sequins. Faber maintained a rhythmic flow on drums, accompanying Kivlen and Cumming’s rock melodies in a simple punk uniform comprised of a button down and black jeans. 

Unlike the ethereal and sublime sounds of the studio recording of Twentytwo and Blue, Sunflower Bean’s live show was loud and vibrant. It radiated the energy of young twenty-somethings with something to scream about. 

One of the first songs Sunflower Bean played on stage at Cat’s Cradle was Twentytwo, a coming-of-age number about the expectations put on young women. With lyrics like “busted and used, that’s how you view your girl now that she’s twenty-two,” it expressed the trials women are faced with as they are deemed less valuable in society due to their fading youth. The chorus burst with strength as Cumming and Kivlen harmonized about not giving up in a patriarchal society that prioritizes fresh appearances. 

A subsequent notable song they played was “Burn It,” a track about the irrepressible anger that accompanies sudden change. In Sunflower Bean’s case, the song is about New York City evolving into an unrecognizable place. However, the lyrics could just as easily be applied to the dynamics of a relationship. 

Sunflower Bean is on the rise, with millions of listens on Spotify and over a million views on YouTube. Their future is bright, and they’re a band to watch out for in the coming years as they land more music festivals and continue growing their fan base of restless youth. 

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