FIVE FAVOURITES: Sunflower Thieves

Combining charming vocal harmonies and soft guitars to create their delicate pop-folk sounds, Leeds duo Sunflower Thieves write tunes inspired by personal narratives and nostalgia. Their musical creations have blossomed out of a sixteen year friendship between band members Amy and Lily, and their upcoming single ‘Don’t Mind The Weather’ is a warm reflection on staying grounded and safe within the relationships with the people you trust.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Amy and Lily to ask them about their “Five Favourites” – five albums that have inspired their song-writing techniques. Check out their choices below and scroll down to watch Sunflower Thieves’ lyric video for ‘Don’t Mind The Weather’ at the end of this post.

1. Sylvan Esso – What Now
Lily: Since I was first introduced to Sylvan Esso with their song ‘Hey Mami’, I just completely fell in love. Amelia’s gorgeously beautiful vocal alongside Nick’s impossibly catchy production is just the perfect mix to leap around your bedroom or just lie on the floor and weep. When this album came out I was absolutely obsessed and it’s all I wanted to listen to for a really long time. I remember every time that me and my best friend got in the car to go anywhere we’d blast it out on the country roads and just scream along without a care in the world.

I think the main thing I gained from listening to them was the reassurance that having a soft vocal does not mean that you can’t sing. At the time when we started singing together I felt very self conscious about my voice because I wasn’t/will never be a belter! But as I grew up and started listening to more and more music I realised that that wasn’t the be all and end all.

2. MUNA – Saves The World
Amy: I first came across MUNA through one of my Uni lecturers. I don’t think he would have predicted what an impact they would have on me. Lyrics are a big thing for me and there aren’t many people who cut straight through to your feelings like MUNA. It’s hard to choose between this album and About U, but Saves The World came along during my time at Uni and for me, it’s attached to a lot of my personal growth, new experiences and wonderful friends found during that time. I can’t wait to be back in a room with my friends, dancing to this album and celebrating loving each other and being exactly who we all are.

3. Phoebe Bridgers – Stranger in the Alps
This is our joint choice and always our reference for writing inspiration, production inspiration and general wonderful human being inspiration. We couldn’t tell you how many times we’ve been working on a song and one of us has said “you know in ‘Scott Street’ where she does this…we could try that!” We’d never heard anyone say things the way she says them before and when we first heard ‘Motion Sickness’, it was an instant “yes please.” Phoebe has helped us find our sound, inspired us to write the kind of music we want to write and we definitely aspire to achieve the kind of poetic realism her lyrics hold. In this album, Phoebe helped Sunflower Thieves’ writing grow and she hasn’t disappointed since.

4. Darwin Deez – Songs For Imaginative People
Lily: It was hard to choose which Darwin Deez album to pick! I think I know every word to every song he’s ever released. However, I reckon this album has really influenced the lyrics I write. The word play in his song-writing is something I strive for and all his outer-space metaphors excite me, I just love how geeky he is! I feel like we’d get on. I first heard of him because a friend at school recommended his song ‘Radar Detector’ and that was it, I was hooked. My favourite song on this album is ‘Alice’, it’s the song that plays automatically every time I plug my phone into the car stereo and I don’t hate it! I just love how honest and real he is, in a weird and wonderful way.

5. Sam Fender – Hypersonic Missiles
Amy: My ultimate go-to running/driving album (drumsssss + Springsteen vibes). I first saw Sam Fender play live at The Bodega in Nottingham in 2018 and have followed his journey since – I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited about an artist’s debut album. I listened to nothing else for weeks after the release – my friends and housemates at the time can attest for that! I have Geordie family, so I guess that’s why I feel at home with his music.
It’s so refreshing to hear an artist address real, difficult subjects with such intimacy and fragility. This album makes me feel angry, powerful, vulnerable and uplifted. And probably most importantly for me, the lyrical content of this album makes me want to write songs.

Thanks to Amy & Lily for sharing their favourites with us!

Watch the lyric video for Sunflower Thieves’ new single ‘Don’t Mind The Weather’ below.

Follow Sunflower Thieves on bandcamp, Spotify, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook

Photo Credit: Alice Ashley

LISTEN: Brooke Bentham – ‘Control’

Fueled by the frustration of being cut off and ignored; Brooke Bentham‘s latest single ‘Control’ is an introspective, moody exploration of how it feels to be ghosted. The track is taken from her debut album, Everyday Nothing, set for release via AllPoints on 28th of February.

Self doubt and insecurity permeate the lyrics in ‘Control’, which centers around Bentham’s own experience of being left behind. She explains further: “It’s about when someone cuts you off entirely. It’s weird when someone does that. I got blocked out with absolutely no reason why, and it makes you question yourself and you just can’t stop thinking about it. you’re just talking to a wall; it’s bouncing back and you end up with this mess in your head.”

This “mess” has translated into brooding guitar noises and hypnotizing vocals on Bentham’s latest single. The track is accompanied by a video, which shows Bentham intermittently staring out of windows and stretching out awkwardly across household furniture, reflecting both the heaviness, and the dark humour in being left hanging by a lover.

Confronted with the mundanities of life and caught between two jobs in London, Bentham has found relief in writing about the smaller, more personal elements of life on her upcoming album. “There is so much frustration in being young and unsure of what you want, especially when your path is creative,” she muses. “You can only hope that it leads you to something fulfilling, so you cling on to the everyday details – burning candles in your bedroom at three AM aged sixteen, or having a bath in the evening at twenty-three, or watching your breath when you step outside in winter. I was reflecting a lot when I wrote these songs, romanticising those moments.”

Bentham is about to embark on a sold out UK tour with Sam Fender as his main support (30th Jan – 6th Feb), which includes two home-coming shows at Newcastle Academy, and a date at Brixton Academy. Bentham’s clear vocals and instinctive lyrics are sure to charm Fender’s crowds. Listen to ‘Control’ below, and follow Brooke Bentham on FacebookSpotify for more updates.

Pre-order Brooke Bentham’s debut album Everyday Nothing here.

Photo Credit: Lauren Maccabee

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut