woensdag 18 april 2018

Twentytwo In Blue. Sunflower Bean

Listening to Twentytwo In Blue I all of a sudden ask myself a question. What sort of music would female singers singers like The Ronettes or Nancy Sinatra be singing if they were 22 today instead of in 1960 or something. Most likely they'd be doing R&B or doing a female vocal in one of those endless DJ collaborations that are all over the charts these days (and saves me time for not having to listen). Artists like the ones I mentioned above did not have have anything or certainly not much to say about what they recorded. They were concerted hit factories until they were no more. Nancy was lucky to run into Lee Hazlewood and scored some more hits into her mid 20s, making her really famous forever.

The reason is that one of the songs on Twentytwo In Blue brought 'To Know Him Is To Love Him' to mind. I know the song was written in 1958 by Phil Spector, what I did not know that is wasn't The Ronettes, but The Teddy Bears, that scored the #1 hitsingle and that Spector was a member of the vocal group at the time. So there goes a part of my theory. (I know the Nancy version because the a late aunt has single 'Like I Do' a long time a go. 'To Know Him ...' was the B-side.)

What most of these girl vocalists, had they been young now, probably would not be doing is playing in a band like Sunflower Bean. Somehow that is irony as singer/bass player Julia Cumming could have featured on any of the records referred to above.

Sunflower Bean is a trio from Brooklyn and this is its second LP. In its music all of pop and rock of the past 60 years comes by. From the innocent voices replacing the first wave of raw rock and roll, to the beat of The Beatles and the darker sides of New York City with The Velvet Underground rhythms overladen with sweet sounding guitars and the new wave/punkpop of Blondie or the mellowness of Josh Rouse. Be ready for it all to be there.

Somewhere under that sweet-voiced Ms. Cumming there can be hints of danger in the music. By making the guitars sound just a little bit more dangerous and the drums pounded just a little harder. The second surprise is that the band has two lead vocalists. Nick Kivlen joins Julia Cumming regularly for a duet or take the lead himself, changing the sound of the band and making it more versatile.

Sunflower Bean fits in a long list of bands with a female lead vocalist releasing records in this idiom over the past 10 years. With Twentytwo In Blue it has secured a position for itself in this list, without being special or outstanding. It is the only band reminding me this much of songs from a time long gone though.


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