Single Review: Sunflower Thieves - 'Hide and Seek'

The latest release from rising Leeds-based duo Sunflower Thieves is a sincere dose of acoustic folk-pop, complete with scorching harmonies and flourishing instrumentation.


After sixteen years of friendship, Amy Illingworth and Lily Sturt-Bolshaw have constructed a unique sound bound by an integral sense of sisterhood, combining ethereal harmonies and honest lyricism with the purpose of cleansing the mind. Having been premiered on John Kennedy’s infamous Radio X show, marking the duo’s first ever dose of national radio play, latest single Hide and Seek is an exploration into the delicate melodies and uplifting harmonies of one of the country’s most promising duo’s.

Photo credit: Glynn Parkinson (@glynnparkison)

Written during a writing trip in Norfolk back in January, and released thanks to the assistance of Mount Street Studios, Hide and Seek is lyrically masked in an earnest bewilderment, the duo harking back to past memories, reminiscing on childhood simplicities and the guidance and nurturing given from parental figures. Softly whispered lines ‘Hoping you’ll carry me up to my room / It’s a long way to walk on my own’ reach out for tender embracements, stripping the track’s message back to the primal facets of humanity in its need for care and companionship.


A lulling guitar soothingly encases itself around Illingworth and Sturt-Bolshaw’s dreamy vocals, floating listeners downstream on a meandering riverbed of tranquility, sparking comparisons to First Aid Kit, Phoebe Bridgers, Laura Marling and Lucy Rose. The track’s intimate yet ethereal production, encapsulated by sincere and layered harmonies, and the staggered pulse of reverberating handclaps, transitions a gentle lullaby into an atmospheric statement of intent for the future, and having fended off thousands of applications to be one of the ninety long-listed artists in Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent Competition 2020, the future promises to be exciting for the rising duo.

The track’s intimate yet ethereal production, encapsulated by sincere and layered harmonies, and the staggered pulse of reverberating handclaps, transitions a gentle lullaby into an atmospheric statement of intent for the future

Despite the restrictions that lockdown naturally places on the logistics of recording and performance, the duo have taken advantage of Sturt-Bolshaw’s production capabilities, with the majority of the track’s instrumentation recorded remotely during lockdown. Having benefitted from the concentrated creative time that has opened up to them to hone in on the sound they desire, Illingworth comments of the track, ‘We stayed in a little beach-side house with a log fire and had a lovely, creative time. That definitely influenced the song - Hide and Seek is about childhood memory and ignorant bliss - we all wish we could escape back to a time when we felt safe and other people would take care of us, when life becomes a little difficult.’


In turbulent times, it is natural to reach out for past comforts and childhood pleasures. On Hide and Seek, Sunflower Thieves have encapsulated the beauty of simplicity, capturing the rawest and purest of life’s tendencies by intertwining emotive complexities and joyous simplicities in one of their most important releases to date.


Hide and Seek is available to listen to now. Cover artwork by Adam Illingworth.

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