Sunflower Bean find magic within friction. The New York trio’s full-length debut album, Human Ceremony [Fat Possum Records], emerges at the intersection of dreamy modern psychedelica and urgent fuzzed-out bliss. That push-and-pull colors the aural tapestry of these three musicians—Jacob Faber [drums], Julia Cumming [vocals/bass], and Nick Kivlen [vocals/guitars].
“Everything comes from a conflicting interest,” affirms Nick. “We love dream pop, but we also really love rock ‘n’ roll. It’s those two spectrums.”
“You’re allowed to obsess over Black Sabbath as well as The Cure,” adds Julia. “It’d be boring if everything was just one way or the other.”
That diversity defined the group’s approach since Nick and Jacob started jamming back in high school. They would hole up in Jacob’s Long Island basement for hours on end, channeling this vast cadre of influences. Julia’s addition would only expand that creative palette further in 2013.
Through constant gigging around New York, Sunflower Bean sprouted into a sonic enigma, boasting a fiery musical call-and-response that serves as a centerpiece, giving the music what Jacob refers to as a “lyrical aspect” between the guitars, drums, and bass.
They transferred this multi-headed energy into their 2015 Independent EP, Show Me Your Seven Secrets. At the same time, this distinct alchemy enchanted ever-growing audiences live. By the time, they entered the studio for Human Ceremony, Sunflower Bean had a lively aural cauldron from which to draw.
They took the summer of 2015 off and retreated to Jacob’s basement to write together. Taking the ideas out of the basement, they hit a Brooklyn studio with producer Matt Molnar [Friends] and tracked eleven tunes in just seven days. Whereas the EP was recorded after Sunflower Bean played 100 shows in one year, Human Ceremony showed the band’s studio side with richer soundscapes, overdubs, and music that had yet to be debuted live.
On the lead track “Easier Said,” Julia’s delicate vocals glide over a lilting clean guitar that spirals off into a vibrant hum.
Sunflower Bean’s spell is cast on Human Ceremony.
“When you’re in a band, you always dream about the first record,” Julia concludes. “It’s that moment where you explore everything that’s been inspiring you.”
released February 5, 2016
Sunflower Bean in Nick Kivlen, Jacob Faber & Julia Cumming
All songs written & performed by Sunflower Bean
Keyboard on "2013" & "Human Ceremony" by Colin Caulfield
Produced by Matthew Molnar & Sunflower Bean
Engineered by Jarvis Taveniere (Rear House)
Recorded at Thump Studios
Front photo by Ruby June
Back photo by Crista Simiriglia
Design / Layout by Ruby June & Crista Simiriglia
supported by 56 fans who also own “Human Ceremony”
This is potentially the greatest dreampop record of the 2010s. Combining bold, memorable melodies, varied and textured music, and emotionally breathtaking lyrics, Psychopomp will be remembered for many decades to come and has an unforgettable place in the heart of anybody who knows it. Devin Passage
supported by 54 fans who also own “Human Ceremony”
Loving this album. 💗 So glad Alvvays is on Bandcamp! Molly's voice is hypnotic in such a beautiful way, the lyrics are so intriguing and the sound weaves such a great atmosphere; so easy to fall into like a big feather bed to blissfully dream about in. ExistentialJeny