February 14, 2016 / 2:55 pm

Human Ceremony – Sunflower Bean

5/7 stars

Following up on the release of the Show Me Your Seven Secrets EP and a handful of other singles in 2015, Sunflower Bean unveils Human Ceremony, the new full-length out on Fat Possum Records. After identifying themselves as shoegazing drone prospects on the EP and absorbing attention from various blogs and media outlets, the Brooklyn trio seem to reinvent their sound with the help of a variety of influences, citing The Velvet Underground, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, and NEU! specifically.

The title track opens the record with a beautiful, spacey psych-pop experience that transitions into the fast-paced, urgent “Come On”, which moves in a way that only a group of 20 year-olds could construct. “2013”, a track shared on the EP, allows the listener to return to the band’s original identification, particularly within the Brooklyn DIY scene. Similarities to DIIV, fellow DIY rocker Zachary Cole Smith’s project, can be heard in the reverb-heavy fan favorite. Leading tracks “Easier Said” and “Wall Watcher” carry the thoughts and feelings of early adulthood and the contrast between rash decisions and thoughtful ones, positive consequence and the inevitably negative. The album concludes with a refreshing shift in roles, featuring bassist and lead vocalist Julia Cumming harmonizing and conversing with guitarist Nick Kivlen as he steps out of the vocal shadow and leads “Space Exploration Disaster.” The name alone promotes the group’s charming youth.

The first full-length from Cumming, Kivlen and drummer Jacob Faber is an exciting neo-psychedelic listen that certainly proves what these young adults are capable of. Fat Possum dropped the record on February 5th, the same day DIIV’s highly-anticipated sophomore effort Is The Is Are was released on Captured Tracks. Anyone could draw connections between a variety of groups that dominated the scene at 285 Kent, Market Hotel and other renowned DIY spaces, but what these bands, and many others, share is their sense of youthful expression. At times the group’s influences are overly-apparent, but they have evolved their sound and found other ways to express themselves through experimentation with what is already known and loved. The record is by no means perfect, but it allows us to come back down to Earth from wherever we believe we are. For these kids, the future sees no darkness.


Catch Sunflower Bean with Weaves and The Pills at The Bishop on April 7th via Winspear.

$8 ADV // $10 DOOR