By Ian Bremner
If you take things literally, the very first track from Bully’s new record, Losing lays it all out there for you. The Nashville trio’s debut album was titled, Feels Like. A few years later, track one from Losing is called Feels the Same. Whether the title is an actual ode to the past or not, the aggressive uneasiness in Bully’s music has not seized one bit.
Alicia Bognanno’s lyrics are straight out of a diary and delivered with as much angst as sincerity. It’s no wonder why Sub Pop, a label known for Seattle’s 90’s grunge explosion and most notably, Nirvana, jumped at the chance to sign Bully for the Feels Like follow-up. The raspy howl of Bognanno isn’t too far removed from what made Kurt Cobain such a symbol for young rebels, but Bully never veers quite as dark. Though the thrashing guitars, building drums and emotional delivery are right on par, what makes Bognanno unique is her ability to create these angry sounding punk songs so damn catchy. If it weren’t for the heavy fuzz and grinding guitars, they would actually make great pop songs. Cultivating that punk-pop ratio is pure Bully wheelhouse.
More than simply the songwriter and frontwoman, sound engineering is where Alicia Bognanno really gets off. The recording process for LP2 was the same as the first go around. The band tracked to analog tape at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio studio in Chicago, where Bognanno once interned and learned.
Losing builds off the same sonic pattern as Feels Like, but with just a bit more polish and confidence. There is a common theme to all of Bully’s songs, but the more you listen, the more you are able to pull out each time and the more you become a fan. Songs like Running are vintage Bully, but they add new rockers like Kills To Be Resistant and Seeing It that stretch a bit further and take Losing next level.
Listen to Losing via spotify
Official video for Feel The Same
Official video for Kills to be Resistant