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Pictured from left to right: Anthony Vaccaro, Lili Trifilio, Jon Alvarado and Matt Henkels. Photo taken by Brandon Hoeg.

Beach Bunny makes the broken heart flutter

Indie rock and pop band from Chicago, Illinois, Beach Bunny visited D.C.’s Songbyrd Record Cafe and Music House with its electric beats and poetically inclined lyrics. Lili Trifilio steps forward and leads the band with her spunky vocals and guitar skills to match. Accompanying her melodies are Jon Alvarado on drums, Matt Henkels on guitar and Anthony Vaccaro on bass. Together, they create an impossibly fun and energetic environment. 

Beach Bunny’s music sustains a peculiarly saddening vibrancy. Past EPs “Pool Party,” “Animalism,” “Crybaby” and “Prom Queen” all share this foundational theme. The band’s music speaks forth the quieted thoughts that many share in adolescence. Its music gives attention to commonly neglected emotions such as those suppressed by toxic beauty standards and ill-mannered relationships. Beach Bunny talks for those who are too afraid, for those who are hurt and those who just “wanna be okay.”

The choice to pursue pop-esque music beautifully contrasts with the band’s often heartbreaking lyrics. The irony is also present in the connection between the band and the listeners; by being able to relate to Beach Bunny’s portrayal of haunting devastation and looming anxiety, listeners are enlightened with a sense of encouragement and warm welcoming. Beach Bunny reminds listeners that they are not alone, that sadness is not rare, but it is, nonetheless, defeatable.  

In this way, there is a sense of both intrapersonal and interpersonal understanding woven into Beach Bunny’s music, creating an environment enriched with individual experiences and shared feelings. Beachy Bunny’s audience is home to hard rockers as well as bubbly romantics. The band brings together a variety of people and appeals to them all with ease.

Live, Beach Bunny is outstanding. The band sounds exactly the same as on their recordings, proving its mesmerizing musical talent and overall authenticity. The ability to translate high production quality onto the stage is exceptionally admirable and laudable. Trifilio’s solemn voice and heart-rendering harmonies push the voice of defeat and helplessness that may come when facing heartache and harmfully unrealistic beauty standards in songs such as “Boys” and “Prom Queen” while the rest of the band enlivens the crowd with its fast-paced beats and catchy rhythms. 

The band handpicked songs to share from its upcoming debut album, “Honeymoon,” including its latest release, “Dreamboy.” “Dreamboy” influences listeners to expect something different from Beach Bunny’s usual painful interpretation of love in its new album, taking a different route. With lyrics like “If you’re gonna love me, make sure that you do it right,” the song suggests confidence and the idea of accepting love while knowing one’s worth, of being happy with oneself while giving the opportunity for love to enhance one’s life, not fulfill it. “Dreamboy” shows optimism for “Honeymoon” and hints at the more bright aspects of love, specifically of love after having learned from heartbreak.

This was maybe the most shining moment of the entire night: Beach Bunny amplified the crowd’s energy with a performance of “Party in the U.S.A.” A chorus of nostalgia flooded the venue as Trifilio chanted Cyrus’ masterful lyrics. Every person was left glowing with cheesy smiles. 

The band topped off the night with “Painkiller,” a display of the utter vulnerability the lack of love in a relationship can drive a person to. It is a beautifully heart-wrenching piece, vocalizing the imprinting pain and ongoing confusion of insincere love. “Painkiller” serves as a great representative piece, characterizing the connecting thread of theme in Beach Bunny’s music thus far.

Beach Bunny radiates talent for both its lyrics and sound. The band’s music is an expression of the unspoken. And that expression is absolutely stunning. Beach Bunny’s debut album, “Honeymoon,” will be suitably released on Valentine’s day in 2020 on all music streaming platforms. With the success and artistic dedication of Beach Bunny’s pieces so far, “Honeymoon” is sure to serve as a beautiful addition to its already phenomenal discography.