Over the last few year, NYC trio Sunflower Bean has shown an incredible potential to be a major force in indie rock, with a sound that can drastically rotate influences from Fleetwood Mac, power-pop, heavy metal, dream pop and more Fleetwood Mac. While their most recent full-length, Twentytwo in Blue, is inconsistent in terms of quality, Sunflower Bean is at their best when their energy is highest, which is what’s so exciting about their new EP, King of the Dudes.
Honing in on a more high-energy style of pop-rock, every song on King of the Dudes stand out individually. With this EP, it seems Sunflower Bean has taken the opportunity to refine a truly signature sound, and in doing so, they have written their most consistent and accomplished release to date.
That said, the record is in no way one dimensional. While the overall compositions are more stylistically consistent, Nick Kivlen’s guitar work still changes dramatically from song to song. Both the title cut and “Fear City” showcase simple, catchy guitar melodies with a classic-rock inspired, reverb-heavy guitar tone. “Come For Me” hears him blending influences of disco and funk, while the final track, “The Big One,” lands a surprise left hook with a barrage of fast, fuzzy punk chords.
The project is also thematically cunning. At face value, everything from the album cover to the music itself is over the top in its machismo. But when you factor in that Sunflower Bean’s music has often focused on themes of toxic masculinity and smashing the patriarchy, it becomes obvious that ‘King of the Dudes’ is meant to glow in hyperbolic absurdity.
King of the Dudes gives so much insight into the band’s exponential growth as songwriters and musicians. By focusing in and refining a loud, high-octane style that plays to their greatest strengths, Sunflower Bean has set the foundation needed to propel themselves into true artistic greatness in the years to come.
When Tyler isn’t busy nerding out about new music, video games, beer or some random new coding project he picked up, he can be found writing for, performing with or shamelessly plugging his mathy indie rock band, Becoming A Ghost.