Published Jun 19, 2015In the glut of '90s alt-rock revivalists, Nashville's Bully have a clear advantage over their peers, a secret weapon: Alicia Bognanno. As the band's singer, songwriter, guitarist, engineer and producer, Bognanno has overseen every aspect of her band's music perfectly.
On the surface, their debut album, Feels Like, doesn't sound like some expertly crafted studio album. Instead, the album's 11 fuzz pedal-abused tracks is an elating recall of the greatest hits of ancestors like Nirvana, Hole and the Amps from 20 years prior. Recorded at Steve Albini's Electrical Audio in Chicago, where Bognanno interned, Feels Like definitely shares some DNA with some of that studio's previous recordings. But Bully aren't merely some alt/grunge retread; Bognanno writes full-scale rock anthems chock full of winding guitar hooks and brutally honest lyrics designed for fans to scream along to at the top of their lungs. On the frantic "I Remember," Bognanno howls, "I remember getting too fucked up / And I remember throwing up in your car," while they decelerate on the quiet-to-loud "Trash" for her to belt out the juicy chorus of "This love feels like trash."
The directness of Bully's songs — both emotionally and melodically — is their strongest asset, but it's tough to argue that Bognanno has any discernable weakness when it comes to her music. (Startime / Columbia)