Whilst busy enjoying Sunflower Bean live at Le Guess Who? last year it never crossed my mind they'd be on Fat Possum, home to the likes of the legendary R.L. Burnside and other such electric blues players. But here they are with debut album Human Ceremony coming out on the label.
Live they were clearly happier playing than having a chat with the crowd but their songs amply spoke for them so that was no issue. On record Julia Cumming's voice is beautifully clear (not quite the case in Utrecht but the promise was there) and the studio environment also obviously allows the guitar parts and musical nuances of each song to shine in ways they can't when you're a trio playing in the back room of a bar.
Therefore their blend of sweetly voiced indie can, at the lazy end of the spectrum, be summed up as Blondie meets early Smashing Pumpkins but that gives you no idea of the sunshiny shimmer of 'Easier Said' or the tight, motorik underpinning of 'This Kinda Feeling' (a song that ends way too soon).
Lyrically too the album stands out. I'm never able to remember the words (or in many cases make them out) after finishing playing anything new it seems but Sunflower Bean, particularly in the call & response of 'I Was Home', display an effective ability to deliver unfussy wording that nevertheless manages to be greater than the sum of its parts.
Belly come to mind on 'Creation Myth' and there's an air of '80s and '90s 4AD around a lot of the 11 songs of Human Ceremony. Definitely no bad thing and something UK and European audiences can make their own minds up about when the band tour in February:-
Feb 2nd - Bristol, UK - Louisana
Feb 3rd - Birmingham, UK - Hare & Hounds
Feb 5th - London - Rough Trade EAST In-store
Feb 6th - Paris, FR - Le Pop Up Du Label
Feb 8th - Copenhagen, DK - Ideal Bar
Feb 9th - Berlin, GR - Berghain Kantine
Feb 10th - Hamburg, GR - Molotov Bar
Feb 11th - Amsterdam, NL - De School
Feb 12th - Brussels, BE - Botanique
Feb 13th - Lille, FR - La Peniche
Feb 15th - Edinburgh, UK - Sneaky Pete’s
Feb 16th - Manchester, UK - Soup Kitchen
Feb 18th - London, UK - The Dome
Feb 19th - Brighton, UK - Bleach