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LI Sound: Sunflower Bean's new EP is a staggering statement

From left: Jacob Faber,Julia Cumming and Nick Kivlen

From left: Jacob Faber,Julia Cumming and Nick Kivlen of unflower Bean photographed at Mom and Pop offices in New York on March 7, 2018. Credit: Chad Batka

Sunflower Bean’s 2018 album “Twentytwo in Blue” was a thoughtful, well-crafted meditation about being young adults in these very confusing times. But the Glen Head band’s new EP, “King of the Dudes” (Mom + Pop), which hits stores on Jan. 25, is a far more streamlined, strident survival strategy.

If “Twentytwo in Blue” was a dreamy, late-night search for direction, “King of the Dudes” is a glam-rock punch in the face. It’s a swaggering statement from a trio – singer-bassist Julia Cumming, guitarist Nick Kivlen and drummer Jacob Faber – ready to seize the indie-rock spotlight.

The band says the first single “Come for Me” is “a dare, a threat, and a beckoning” and they definitely deliver on all counts, with Cumming tapping into the same mix of defiance and temptation that Pat Benatar offered in “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.”

“Do you really want to come for me?” Cumming taunts, with the guys chanting, “Do ya? Do ya? Do ya? Do ya?” behind her. “Do you really want to waste my time?”

“This song was inspired by inner strength, power, and sexual freedom,” the band says in a statement. “In 2018, there is no time to waste and no time for shame. This song is a declaration of that.”

The BBC’s Radio 1 has already started playing “Come for Me” and Elton John has been promoting it on his Spotify playlist, “Elton John Loves,” but Sunflower Bean does not stop there.

On the “King of the Dudes” title track, Kivlen cranks out some giant ‘70s-drenched guitar riffs while Cumming declares, “I can be your queen if you know what I mean.”

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For “The Big One,” Cumming’s sneering delivery is steeped in early Blondie, as the band delivers hard-hitting punk.

Sunflower Bean is clearly a band on the move, currently opening for Interpol on its arena tour and set to play this year’s Governors Ball on June 1, on the same day as The 1975 and Kacey Musgraves. But “King of the Dudes” shows their artistic power growing by leaps and bounds, even in just the past year.

"This EP does not give a [expletive),” the band said in a statement. “It’s reactionary, and a sharpened response to our times. Death, birth, aggression, addiction, and power. ‘Twentytwo In Blue’ allowed us to find our strength and on ‘King Of The Dudes’ we use it, no holds barred.”

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