‘Taking stock of one of the most turbulent periods in recent history - spanning from Trump’s shock election at the end of 2016, right through to the political backwards steps which peppered the following year - it’s easy to see why Sunflower Bean’s second album, written during this time, is frantically treading water and examining new anxieties beneath its glossy, gliding surface. “2017 - we know, reality’s one big sick show,” vocalist Julia Cumming says, addressing the year in question atop ‘Crisis Fest’’s twanging ‘70s glam riffs. “Every day’s a crisis fest.”
Titled ‘Twentytwo in Blue’ - the band were 22 years old during the making of the record - the melancholy clothing colour is significant too. From start to finish, the trio are concerned with taking apart the worries and anxieties of being young in this uniquely terrifying time, marching soldiers and fast-approaching darkness peeking between the gigantic, celebratory rock‘n’roll. And during more tender moments - ‘I Was A Fool’ draws solid-gold pop out of emotional quicksand, just as Fleetwood Mac did on ‘Rumours’ - they progress leaps and bounds on from the foundations of their debut.
Recorded in a wire-strewn basement, ‘Human Ceremony’ was hardly a flawless debut, but the band’s real promise shone when they pushed their ideas to the realm of unencumbered, sprinting-before-learning-to-walk inventiveness. The follow-up, a more considered harnessing of all that raw potential, shows just what they’re capable of.