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There is a deceptive intensity to the music of Stains of a Sunflower.
The Boston quartet, who today release their new self-titled EP, equipped with four eminently re-listablable tracks that each carry a distinct voice, create the type of pronged folk rock that jangles enough to glow and drags enough to growl. Each song zips along a carefree bounce, finding enough sunshine through life’s darkness, yet somehow finds the rhythm and pace to bark back at the slightest of gesture.
It’s an intriguing effort for a young group just now finding their footing, and crystallizing an impassioned, ’60s-kissed folk sound that has just as much DNA spilled in dirty rock clubs as it does in lounges and cafes. Particularly heard on tracks like “Starlight” and shifty pop-rock cluster “Lindsey”, there’s a casual fun to Stains of a Sunflower’s new EP, with a seriousness lurking just beneath the sonic surface. And it’s volleyed by the bombastic vocal appeal of singer Natalie Renée, whose range is as varied as the instrumentation around her.
“Our name, Stains of a Sunflower, was greatly inspired by the poem ‘Sunflower Sutra’ by Allen Ginsberg, along with many other fragments of our lives,” Renée tells Vanyaland, “but a message that I took away from ‘Sunflower Sutra’ and try to embed and promote through the band’s music is self-love and light. It’s near impossible to find light and love and beauty in the darkness, in the challenges we face, but it isn’t entirely impossible. Accepting what we’ve been given and recognizing the beauty around us is one of the most palpable ways to love yourself. To love your strengths. To look within, you must look out. And to look out, you must look within.”
With this EP, recorded with Benny Grotto at Mad Oak Studios, Stains of a Sunflower took on a more collaborative songwriting effort, and the result was greater chemistry and cohesion. “I definitely notice a difference in sound, a stronger confidence, a crazier frenzy of sounds and colors and emotions and ideas,” Renée adds. “These four songs are the most Stains of a Sunflower-esque creations we’ve birthed… This EP is our most honest, genuine, and collaborative work of art we’ve done, and we are very happy to share it with the world.”
With the record ready for public consumption, Stains of a Sunflower head out on a seven-date EP release tour this month, kicking off March 17 at Radio Bean in Burlington, Vermont, and wrapping March 25 at Atwood’s Tavern in Somerville.
Featured image by Mike Morrissey.