Much of Sunflower Bean’s energetic album Human Ceremony has a “tap or clap along” quality that’s perfect for a night out. The band calls their genre “night music” and, for the most part, it’s true. They rock a likeable sound that can set the mood for an edgy Brooklyn bar but can just as easily be talked over or dismissed as background music. That is, until you get to “I Want You To Give Me Enough Time,” a standout-track that slows time down and strips away the sometimes excessive guitar riffs that define the rest of the album.
Singers Julia Cumming and Nick Kivlen sing together on most songs, but here, their voices are reduced to a whisper as we overhear their intimate conversation. In hushed tones they talk about the fundamental support structure in any relationship: communication.
The lyrics are littered with ‘I’s and ‘You’s, but the two singers say most lines together, establishing reciprocity in their concerns. They blur the delineation between whose mind is confused and whose is made up — a paradox familiar to any close friends or lovers navigating across the inherent divide separating any two people, no matter how close.
Together, Cumming and Kivlen inquire about what’s on their minds, but then immediately croon, “I think I’d rather not find out.” “I Want You To Give Me Enough Time” is the musical equivalent of rose-colored glasses, suggesting intimacy and openness while acknowledging a less ideal, more complicated reality. Maintaining a musical optimism, they ultimately embrace the natural distance between people. This song is a welcome change from the rest of their “night music” album, with the artists taking a break from their night out to reflect on the intimacies and intricacies of friendships.
Listen here. Image from here.