Thursday, February 13, 2020

Beach Bunny is ready for their moment in the sun.

Has it really been less than two years since I saw Beach Bunny opening a show for VARSITY at The Empty Bottle, and shyly congratulating bandleader Lili Trifilio on an excellent set? I didn't (and don't) personally know Trifilio, so this was a little out of the ordinary for me, but I had never heard of the band and was totally bowled over by their potential. But I also admit at the time I never really considered they'd expand their influence outside the indie rock landscape.

A few months later I realized the band might have that spark that would allow them to bloom and spread their music far beyond their initial "scene." I was at Riot Fest with a friend who walked away from the weekend telling me Beach Bunny was their favorite set of all three days. Considering my friend was the type to follow jam bands whose tastes largely did not align with mine, this was a clear indicator that there was something in Beach Bunny's music that could touch the masses.*

And I promptly filed that away and moved on, hearing little from the band until I got an email from their new label to expect a full-length debut in February of 2020.** Which is now!

Said debut, Honeymoon, is fucking fantastic. Yes, it's a female-led band with a clear debt to '90s guitar-based indie pop with seemingly somewhat unsteady vocals that are actually really strong and precise but manage to convey vulnerability nonetheless. Trifilio's vocal instrument is really something to behold in person, and the album manages to capturer that wonderfully.

And the band is in cracking fine form, tight as can be, turning on dimes, spinning out webs to entangle ever ear that sound waves can reach, and generally functioning as a single extension of Trifilio's vision. Which is incredibly remarkable for any young group, but even more so considering Beach Bunny was for years a solo bedroom project and the band wasn't assembled, from what I can tell, not too long before I fist saw them play. The studio can fix a lot of things and create mirages of perfection out of snippets of individual achievements, but on Honeymoon Beach Bunny sounds like a band that was grown up and lived together forever.

Honeymoon is out tomorrow and there are events celebrating its release over the next two days in Chicago before the band hits the road to spread the good word both across our nation and in international settings.

*My friend and I would trade off—I would take her to see a band like Sleigh Bells and she would gamely grimace through their set, and then we'd see something like a Grateful Dead member's side project where I would remain as open as possible (but would often also grimace), and so on and so on. The point being that if there was something we both liked it was a clear sign that there was something appealing to a brand palate going on there.

**Here is where I admit that until this morning I knew nothing of the band blowing up on TikTok through the use of their song "Prom Queen." Which might explain the label interest and such, but also goes to prove that their appeal is pretty damn wide, no matter on what platform the first steps to world domination might be taken. Also, more on the whole TikTok thing here.

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