We all had dreams as teenagers to do big things. Maybe it was to write a novel, be a professional athlete, or become a doctor. Then we all graduate high school and dreams are forgotten or simply remain fantasies occasionally remembered. But for some of us (very few of us), the future holds something a little more impressive than what we could have even dreamed of. Sunflower Bean may be one of the hottest acts coming out of the Brooklyn area right now, and when they recorded their impressive debut, Human Ceremony, they were all still doe-eyed teenagers making music with their friends.
Human Ceremony has a familiar sound; it’s sounds like everything all at once, with heavy influences from multiple decades of rock music. At times, it’s gloomy and brooding with songs like “2013,” but changes from night to day on the next track, “Easier Said.” If not a little moody at times, the album is dynamic and truly a captivating experience. Vocal roles swap between female and male within songs, providing an even more fluid sound. Each track is distinctly different, pulling bits and pieces from psych, pop, and even heavier metal sounds. This could be a testament to the musicians’ well rounded tastes in music. It seems these youngsters have done their fair share of experimentation in the music they let influence them. Throughout the record, sounds and moods and vocals all change, but it remains in sonic singularity as one thoughtful, youthful, salient record.
One of the most notable tracks on the album, “Creation Myth,” sees the range and capacity of Julia Cumming’s voice. It’s a beautiful tune with simple lyrics and plenty of the album’s dynamic charm, changing direction near the end of the song as if to start an entirely new track with metal instrumentation, then turning backwards in full u-turn fashion, finishing with the soft and sweet music from the beginning of the track.
It’s a beautiful thing when young people get together to create something they’ve never really tried before. It’s not often we get to experience the sounds of something unburdened by the influence and pressure of the modern music era. Every once in a while, the world is rewarded with a nice little record like Human Ceremony. It’s fresh, fun, nostalgic, and a great start for a budding group of musicians. Time will tell what happens to Sunflower Bean, but for now we can enjoy their debut for it’s simplistic, unrestrained charm.
By: Nick Fief