By: Sun Noor
New York’s three-pieced progressive/psychedelic-rock band, Sunflower Bean are undoubtedly one of the most hardworking bands at the moment, given the fact they they are constantly embarking on tours across different continents and remaining active while working on new music. After releasing their second album Twentytwo in Blue, the trio made their way back to Montreal for another exceptional gig alongside London-based punk outfit, Dream Wife.
In a recent interview, Sunflower Bean described their sophomore record as a coming of age album, given the fact that it contains subject matter centered on some of their struggles as well as other themes such as empowerment which can be examined in tracks like “Human For” and “Crisis Fest.” The trio mentioned being inspired by the changes taking place in their lives and the knowledge acquired on the road with regards to constant touring. Bassist and lead vocalist Julia Cumming, drummer Jacob Faber and guitarist and vocalist Nick Kivlen were all 22 while working on this record and were constantly exposed to blue imagery. The colour represented positivity and hopefulness in their eyes, which inspired the title of the record. Twentytwo in Blue contains much more dimension when compared to their debut Human Ceremony in terms of the instrumentation. The layered guitar riffs and prominent drumming compliment the vocals. As well, Cumming displays a wider vocal range with songs like “Only a Moment,” which is my favourite track.
The notion of activism through art is also very apparent with this record, as songs such “Burn it,” “Human For” and “Crisis Fest” make a critique of the issues taking place in America. The band also generate a sense of empowerment with their uplifting lyrics with regards to refusing to adhere to passivity. Julia Cumming has also started an organization entitled “Anger Can be Power” which is a platform dedicated to activism and effectively tackling issues regarding inequality, which is equally inspiring.
The London-based punk-rock trio Dream Wife joined Sunflower Bean before embarking on another tour with The Kills and continuing their festival circuit. The band released their debut self-titled record in early January and has been touring since. It’s not everyday that I get to attend a show with two amazing bands playing together, which is why this was one of the few gigs that I was really excited for. As well, both bands have just released incredible records within the first quarter of the year which was quite lovely, as I really enjoy watching bands debut some of their newest tracks live. The subject matter is quite similar with both records which is equally enjoyable.
Sunflower Bean treated us to a generous set which was comprised of their classics as well as all of Twentytwo in Blue with the exception of “Anyway You Like” and “Oh No, Bye Bye” which are the slower tracks of the album. Either way, that did no take much from their usual, high-energy sets. I am definitely looking forward to their next gig!
Here are more photos from Sunflower Bean’s majestic set:
Watch the video for “Twentytwo” below.