Stains of a Sunflower, the Los Angeles alt-rock outfit led by the unapologetically hyperfeminine Natalie Renée, has finally returned from their two-year hiatus with the release of their you know it’s such a shame… EP. A trio of gorgeously sleek and potent anthems that center around Renée’s ever emphatic praise of the female spirit, unfolding with a sonic extravagance—like a Baz Luhrmann film meets 60’s Beatnik-transcendentalism—that the lead-singer never fails to go toe-to-toe with in her throaty cries.
Stains of a Sunflower is just one of those bands you just here and go, “Oh, no yeah—rock is NOT dead,” and no track on their new EP captures that more than “If We Could Burn.” From the moment those thundering drums start pummeling away, the track drives forward on this blissful hopefulness that’s carried on the back of Renée’s throaty cries (an echo of Dolores O’Riordan peeking through it all), edging you closer and closer to this combustible and sublime feeling like a horizon.
you know it’s such a shame… was inspired just as much by Renée’s own experiences as it was by the stories of other people—something that the lead-singer recognizes as an overwhelming burden at times. Once you become invested in someone else’s story you start to unhealthily compare yours to theirs, which Renée says “takes your authenticity out of your own journey.”
“[The album] reflects on the different types of contexts and complexities we find ourselves in, specifically with comparisons,” Renée explained. “But the focus really isn’t just general comparisons, it focuses on those times we do cross the line, we do offset the balance, we go too far and lose ourselves a little.”
Those comparisons are starkly illustrated on the EP’s opening track, “just like you.” Living up to another one of their recent comparisons in Paramore as Renée loses herself in her love and admiration for another person—and it’s in that desperation, that clawing she goes through to hold onto this relationship—that’s the moment Renée sees as us losing some part of our own story. And in that same spirit, “FIGHTER” pairs a blistering gauntlet of virulent riffs and Renée’s best vocal work into the kind of combustible, femme-anthem that only Stains of a Sunflower could concoct. Between her grating growls, crowd-hyping, and the brawl that ends it all—”FIGHTER” captures the kind of tireless strength that’s sometimes required to keep others from altering your story.