Sunflower Bean – ‘King Of The Dudes EP’ review

It's barely 12 minutes long, but the New York trio's stop-gap EP is a four-punch triumph that re-emphasises their unmistakable signature sound

Sunflower Bean’s debut album ‘Human Ceremony’ was bright and brilliant, stuffed full of catchy tunes that used ’80s alt-pop choruses and gargantuan riffs to explore the trials of being a teenager. However, it was their second album, 2018’s ‘Twentytwo in Blue’, that really proved what a remarkable band the New York trio are. The record cemented Sunflower Bean’s place on the end of scores of “best of” lists (indeed, they placed fourth on NME’s) and, even more than that, marked them as a band to sit up and listen to.

And though lesser bands might have taken some time out to enjoy that success, Sunflower Bean weren’t going to rest on their laurels. Instead they juggled a summer of festivals and a brutal touring schedule with studio time, and the result is the punchy ‘King of the Dudes’. At little over 12 minutes, the EP consists of a handful of blistering, radio ready tunes.

The EP develops the sound that won them an army of fans for ‘Twentytwo in Blue’. The band have said that ‘Twentytwo In Blue’ enabled them to find their “strength”; it’s on ‘King Of The Dudes’ that they truly flex their muscles. Stonking rock song ‘Come For Me’ is a call to arms for women, with frontwoman Julia Cumming inspired by sexual freedom and liberation while writing it. Surpassing shame, the vocalist boldly asks: “Do you really wanna come for me?” over earworm riffs and playful guitar licks.

But the newfound strength doesn’t mean the band have sacked off the sound that made their last album such a treat. Instead they’ve mined their ‘Twentytwo in Blue’ for the best bits, a smart move that emphasises their signature sound: Fleetwood Mac meets classic rock.

‘Fear City’ boasts the Fleetwood Mac-laced harmonies that previously delighted, and title track ‘King of the Dudes’ borrows the roaring riffs and no bullshit New York rock attitude that prevailed on their last record. Effortless and fearless, Sunflower Bean’s latest is a breakneck showcase of the trio’s talent. With each tune a high-octane chunk of the bold, New York indie the band have honed, it’s a triumph.