Sunflower Bean’s last outing, 2019’s ‘King of the Dudes’ EP, was flawless; a short but supremely sweet about-turn from the previous year’s somewhat softer ‘Twentytwo In Blue’, which showcased a fearsome sound from the trio, seemingly ready to become torch-bearers for New York City’s storied line of sleazy rock’n’roll icons. It’s that confidence that’s the biggest through-line to third full-length ‘Headful Of Sugar’; a record which can’t help but beg the question, ‘Where next?’. Drummer Olive Faber may be one of many artists who’ve turned their talents to production in the last couple of years, but it’s her smart use of layering - the swaggering, ‘80s hair metal guitar solo almost buried in the title track; the synths barely making themselves known on ‘Stand By Me’ - and electronic textures, from soft (opener ‘Who Put You Up To This’ ) to all-out industrial (ultimate standout, the beautifully beastly ‘Beat The Odds’), which tie together the record - ultimately an exercise in Sunflower Bean showing off that they can do just about everything well. ‘Baby Don’t Cry’ is as peppy sonically as it is lyrically emo in the most wonderfully melodramatic way. ‘Post Love’, meanwhile, successfully carries on another of NYC’s legacies, with its obvious nods to early disco. And as if to hammer this whole point home, ‘I Don’t Have Control Sometimes’, on which frontwoman Julia Cumming’s are high-pitched and breathy - coquettish yet in command - is followed by ‘Stand By Me’, which uses her lower range to similarly stunning effect. What’s more, in a world where invisible rules tell of front-loading albums with singles; ‘Headful of Sugar’ ends on a thrashing high: ‘Feel Somebody’ is two-and-a-half minutes of pure grunge joy.
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