Words and Live Photography by Isabel Corp
New York indie rock trio Sunflower Bean has been hot on the trail of success since releasing their sophomore album Twentytwo in Blue in 2018 and being labeled the city’s “hardest working band” by a local listing site. After facing their existential doubts and fears during the pandemic, the band has returned with a vengeance on their most confident and eclectic record to date, Headful of Sugar, which was produced and mixed by Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Jacob Portrait and engineered by the band’s drummer Olive Faber.
The band wrote Headful of Sugar to explore “fast pleasures, the sugar of life, [and] the joy that comes with letting go of everything you thought mattered.” Released on May 5 and followed by a U.S. tour that recently made a stop at New York’s Webster Hall, Headful of Sugar trades the dream pop textures of Human Ceremony and straight-edge indie rock of Twentytwo in Blue for a rapturous psychedelic dancefloor menagerie on tracks like “Post Love” and “Beat the Odds,” the latter being a feedback-heavy synthetic cut that sounds like a modern update of Depeche Mode’s “Never Let Me Down Again,” with guitarist Nick Kivlen on lead vocals doing his best Dave Gahan impression.
The upcoming Penny print issue, Issue 2.2, features an interview with the band discussing the very timely themes touched on in the album, outgrowing the millennial hipster scene they came up in and embracing their zillennial musical sensibilities, and why live music still matters. Headful of Sugar is out now via Mom + Pop Records.