Sunflower Bean feel blissful relief on their London return

The New York band debuted tracks from forthcoming LP Headful of Sugar to an excited Camden crowd

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“This is kinda surreal,” Sunflower Bean‘s Nick Kliven admits not long into their headline show at Camden’s Electric Ballroom. Though it’s not the trio’s first live outing this side of the pandemic, having recently finished a brief stint of stateside shows, the UK has long welcomed the New York band as one of their own since their early psych-garage days back in 2015. It’s clearly not unnoticed, as bassist and vocalist Julia Cumming quickly shouts out friends at their UK indie label Lucky Number, encouraging any young bands to send them their demo.

So off the bat, it feels like there’s added meaning to bring their new album Headful Of Sugar to the UK, and to London in particular. The woozy title track opens the set with an endearing false start that no doubt gives those same aspiring acts in the crowd a further reminder that everyone’s human. But Cumming’s star quality in particular is undeniable tonight, as her voice sweeps dynamically from falsetto to full voice with a Stevie Nicks-like strength and grooves across the stage blissfully whilst Kliven shreds and drummer Olive Faber thrashes.

At 45 minutes, it’s a pretty short set that feels more like an album showcase, with sludgy and sinful numbers like ‘Beat The Odds’ and ‘Feel Somebody’ especially suiting the stage. But some of the glittery favourites — ‘Easier Said’ and ‘Twentytwo’ — are welcomed excitedly. The band is clearly euphoric, as Cumming beckons a bottle of tequila and shares a kiss on the cheek with Kliven mid-song.

Sunflower Bean return for an encore without a suspenseful wait to treat London with a rare performance of the sheeny, psychedelic rush of ‘Somebody Call A Doctor’, from the 2015 debut EP that bewitched their London label almost a decade ago. After Cummings’ shout-out tonight, many more demos are probably en route already.

Tickets for the rest of Sunflower Bean’s UK shows can be found here. Read our interview with Julia Cumming about new album Headful Of Sugar here.