Brooklyn, N.Y., punk rockers Ackerman release A Million Sunflowers
Brooklyn, N.Y., punk rockers Ackerman set the stage for an immersive, artistic escape into corners of the sonic world only New York could produce. With five outstanding songs on A Million Sunflowers, Ackerman seems to capture a million or more sounds and combines them into wonderful nuggets. At the helm of this communal and experimental project is Jordan McAffee-Hahn. Part punk, some rock and highly engaging, A Million Sunflowers delivers the goods.
“The Sweet Beginning” is a rush of light, energy and high-vocals.” It has a slow build before it erupts into a frenzied electrical bubble. Like most of the songs on A Million Sunflowers, the vocals can be incoherent in deciphering what it is they are saying, but the melodies and the rhythms are certainly felt.
The second track “A Day At The Beach” has forlorn guitars and in what feels like a snippet of reverb and circling electrical lighting flashes that move into a melodic, albeit atmospheric riffs. The song feels like the listener is weightless; the guitar and the pesky percussion transform into a buoyant rock track. As this song, and as the record moves along, the real power in Ackerman are not the valiant vocals, but rather the transformative music beds and in the case of “A Day at The Beach” a well-timed story with beginning, middle and end. The sound of waves closes out the song in a near-deafening silence.
“84 Palms” feels more playful, brighter in tones. I loved how this track plays through some soundwaves and gets a great, chill dance vibe going. If “84 Palms” were a daypart, it would be the time right between finishing getting ready and waiting for the subway train. There’s an unspoken joy and hopefulness in “84 Palms” that feels like something is going to happen – the anticipation and underground energy of a night out in a city. There’s a pulse that is building and Ackerman captures that intensity. The fourth track, “Hello” has that same fun feeling, only it has a bit more of a happy jaunt in its delivery.
Finally, the title track (song number five) is a beautiful, stunning intro. Again, that airy, atmospheric pulsating vibe is immersive and it’s hard not to feel in-tune with one’s surroundings while listening. It’s as if the sunflowers are bursting in every color imaginable in your imagination, the hues and vibrancy is echoed in the music bed. This is the perfect title to a song that elicits such energy and uniqueness. It’s also a longer song, timed at just over five minutes. There’s a break near the end that feels a bit slower; the piano keys have itty-bitty pauses between measures, and alas it just ends. Perhaps a bit more of that explosive energy, could last longer, but just as flowers wilt, the song must end.
Overall, the best tracks on A Million Sunflowers are “84 Palms” and the title track. Listeners that enjoy new wave, post punk songs will be thrilled with Ackerman. At times it feels like there’s a deep melancholy in the dreary music waves or murky guitars, but it’s also full of brightness and joy.