When their debut album Feels Like came out during summer 2015, Bully instantly catapulted themselves into being one of the top independent acts of the decade. Alicia Bognanno screams honest and truthful lyrics while getting highly amplified with her guitar. The rest of the band has guitarist Clayton Parker backing up Bognanno while drummer Stewart Copeland (not the one from The Police) and bass guitarist Reece Lazarus make up a stellar rhythm section. This act from Nashville combines the raw grit of classic ‘70s era punk with the electrified coolness that came with alternative rock’s boom in the early ‘90s. Their sophomore release Losing, which hit record store shelves on Oct 20 via the legendary Seattle label Sub Pop, is a great continuation of a style that wears its heart on its sleeve.
Losing is a little less tame than the band’s debut: Bognanno gets more intense during the chorus of various songs. Each track also has a hard-hitting structure that musically breaks down while also maintaining a certain level of catchiness. Bully walks a fine line between being worthy of adoration by rock ‘n’ roll purists and accessibility by the casual music listener: not a lot of bands can pull that off these days and it’s definitely a special trait this band possesses.
Right from the first song, you can definitely experience an act of catharsis from Bognanno. She gets personal and straight to the point when she sings. It’s all done in a very unapologetic way. That certain aesthetic is inspiring and profound. The fearlessness has to be respected. Let’s delve into that fearlessness a bit more with my top tracks off of the Album of the Week:
“Kills to Be Resistant” begins in melodic fashion but, when the chorus hits, everything is unleashed: It gets louder and louder until it reaches a level equivalent to a jackhammer. “Guess There” starts out relaxed and groovy; Bognanno’s and Parker’s guitars have extraordinary and supercharged distortion. Another great example of that distortion is “Not The Way” along with an infectious amount of harmony.
Bully will be rolling through Great Scott in Allston, Mass., on Nov 12, but the show is reported sold out; hopefully you already have a ticket or you can grab one somehow. If you end up getting into the show, get yourself a copy of Losing. It’ll energize the senses with lyrics that make you think.
Web site: bullythemusic.com