A lot has happened in two years – Trump squirmed his way into presidency, Brexit commenced, another Royal Wedding was announced and the voices of US students have thundered. A two-year gestation also commenced, leading to the birth of the second album from shoegaze three-piece, Sunflower Bean.
‘Twentytwo In Blue’ grapples with the notions of vulnerability, personal conflict and social unrest. The dark subtext hidden, weaved into the lyrics, is concealed by the group’s happy-go-lucky, frolicking in the flowers soundtrack.
With all members aged 22 years old, the New York City indie rockers have presented listeners with a compilation of tales divulging the complications and…well…shit parts of life.
Opening track ‘Burn It’, ‘Crisis Fest’ and ‘Human For’ are a few among their songs of protest and each are an ode to taking control of your own life. Each rioty track sporting the ‘leather jacket, safety pins and Dr Martens’ look with a side-order of punk attitude. Upbeat, fuzzy guitar and a cheeky voice – the magic three to getting your point across. Lead singer and bassist of the trio, Julia Cumming, challenged herself to become more politically vocal during the chaos of the USA, using her music as a platform.
The title track of the album, ‘Twentytwo’, is a buoyant and flowery ballad on first digestion. Stripping the bones from the flesh, Cumming is a mouthpiece, revealing of a woman’s unnecessary need to comply with the standards and expectations of today’s lewd and sordid society.
Residing within the upwards spring of political formality, ‘Only A Moment’ and ‘‘Anyway You Like’’ are drowsy lullabies. Both tender tracks embrace the reality of being unguarded and sensitive. Gentle caresses of an angelic voice with gospel undertones and soft cymbal crashes cradle the ears of the beholder and swiftly shift them into a sedentary state.
Closing this labour of love (and other feelings) is the conveniently named ‘Oh No, Bye Bye’. A triumphant adjoining of vocals and carefree acoustic guitar makes for a great ending and summarises all the blue topics covered in the album in a euphoric four minutes and two seconds.
Words: Megan Berridge