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Album Review

Bully – Feels Like


A subtle call to arms veiled under an irresistible sound.

Label: Sony
Released: 22nd June 2015

Rating: ★★★★

On ‘I Remember’, the opening track on Nashville based four-piece Bully’s debut full-length, Alicia Bognanno launches into a grunge-heavy onslaught that captures a whimsical carefree vibe without pulling any punches. It’s a juxtaposition that dominates ‘Feels Like’; slinking between spitting vocals and sun soaked guitars. The perfect balance, in part thanks for Bognanno’s self-production credit, subtly pushes the record away from revivalist territory, instead oozing with originality and charm.

Comprising a combination of new material and reworked tracks from their 2014 self-titled EP, ‘Feels Like’ showcases the band’s range whilst maintaining a careful consistency. The newer tracks carry an increasingly experimental nature, building on the comparably uncomplicated earlier material. Bully succeed at both, pulled together by Bognanno’s open-book lyrics. Underneath the warm instrumentation lies a plethora of introspection, with ‘Feels Like’ tackling tales of anxiety, self-worth, uncertainty and growing up.

Above all, Bully offer a release. As Bognanno’s vocals both spit and serenade, the final message is one of freedom. Regardless of the lyrical content ‘Feels Like’ remains wholeheartedly upbeat, with liberating overtones ever-present in the record’s thirty minute running time. Bully display a ferocious attitude that perfectly unpicks the anxieties and self-doubt. The beachy baselines and effervescent guitar work lay waste to any negativity and allow ‘Feels Like’ to truly shine.

On ‘Trash’ Bognanno spitefully declares her susceptibility to self-loathing; “It’s magic how you make me feel like trash,” she spews. As she viciously retorts with forceful self-affirmation, it’s possible to feel every word. Emblematic of the album in its entirety, it’s a subtle call to arms veiled under an irresistible sound. ‘Feels Like’ breaks Bully away from their insecurities and, in doing so, explodes onto the scene with a disarming beauty. Ben Tipple