By Jacqueline Sun
King of the Dudes is a four track EP from New York trio Sunflower Bean. It’s fun and glossy power pop, with a distinct 80s influence. Vocalist Julia Cumming has a Cyndi Lauper-esque sugary sweet voice except when it’s not, contrasted over catchy guitar riffs and propulsive drum kicks.
King of the Dudes opens with “King of the Beans,” an insanely catchy track buoyed along with scratchy guitar riffs paired with drum kicks. It starts the EP off on a high note and is a standout. Suggesting at the female-power pop slant of the EP, Cumming sings “I’m the king of the dudes, if you want me to be…yeah you know my name.” Empowering female lyrics paired with ear wormy guitar licks makes for a dream combo.
The second track, “Come For Me” is a more aggressive, punchy, power-pop track. Here Cumming taunts, “Do you really wanna come for me?” that comes off strongly. Despite the power of the lyrics, the guitar and instrumental doesn’t seem to match that energy and becomes cloying after the 3 minute mark. The repeated high pitched guitar whine loses its glossy sheen after the umpteenth iteration.
Things mellow out by “Fear City,” a catchy 80s riff accompanied by Cumming’s decidedly more fluid voice. The bass line tinkers along throughout, with the drums taking a backseat. There is an awesome guitar breakdown three quarters through the song, an always welcome addition to any track.
Closer “The Big One,” lives up to its name. It starts off fast and propulsive and ends that way, with a vocal scream fading out. Cumming trades Cyndi Lauper with Kim Gordon, more spoken word and punk rock than sweet 80s. It’s an awesome closer and punctuates the shortness of the EP with a solid exclamation point.
Sunflower Bean sounds assured and confident in King of the Dudes. It’s an empowering and fun EP, with enough punkiness to prevent it from being too cloying.