Sunflowers are happiness. Sunflowers are peace. Sunflowers are sunshine and light. But the packed house filing into Rough Trade in Brooklyn this past week discovered that some sunflowers can take you on a glorious trip to the darker side of rock.
Led by a model-esque bassist and a Dylan-esque axe man, the alternative group thrashed through their set with grinding guitar solos and pulsing rhythms performing songs in the antithesis of their innocuous name. One would think that a band called Sunflower Bean would play slow, hippy jams while their starchildren fans swayed in trances. Instead, the threesome proved that the young kiddies can bring the noise and the heat.
Playing crowd favorites like “2013” and “Tame Impala,” the band whose music has been called “neo-psych rock,” transcended their teenage years and jammed beyond the labels and clichés one would be tempted to bestow on a band so young. Filling the hall with a wall of sound, Sunflower Bean wasted no time chatting with the crowd choosing instead to blast their eardrums with alt-rock that took us back to the time of Smashing Pumpkins and Sonic Youth—two bands that pre-date this group’s birth years.
And at a time where we need to believe more than ever that the children are our future, Sunflower Bean is a breath of fresh air. They aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel. Their foundation is soundly rooted in rock and they are simply twisting the melodic elements in the universe to bring something interesting to the mix. The genius of the band is that for those of us Gen-Xers still slinking around the music venues of NYC, this music will take us back to a time of flannel and Doc Martin steel-toes. For the younger set, they’ll think this music is crazily original and intoxicating amidst the shoe-gaze techno bands that seems to be prevalent on the scene nowadays. This band has the potential to build upon a dual-layer fan base that could lead to tremendous staying power in the industry. And their youth will be their strength.
Article: Hannah Soule