MUSIC REVIEW | Bully – Feels Like (2015)

Bully 1

I was skimming through a Vulture article about The Best albums of 2015 So Far, when I read a random line about a random band I had never heard of. It said something about Bully being reminiscent of Nirvana. Now, I’m no a huge Nirvana fan. I really, really like them, but I was never a Nirvana or Cobain disciple. But, being of a certain age, I can’t deny how big an impact Nirvana had on rock at a very formative time of my life. Also being of a certain age, I’m getting increasingly dismissive of new music and wondering why it can’t be as good as it was back in my day. So to read new band in 2015 compared to what I will always consider the greatest era in rock, was enough to make me track down Bully and listen to Feels Like.


First off, I Remember and Reason make me wonder where that Nirvana comparison came from. Because these are really cool songs, but they in no way remind me of Nirvana, or any other angst ridden man rock of the 90s. This is slower and more controlled than the signature Nirvana sound. And it’s an awesome surprise. Because I’m a sucker for sweet, female vocals, over crunching, angry guitars, and Bully really delivers.

OK, enough with the Nirvana comparisons, this is a review of Bully and their music. And their music is pretty great. Especially when the energy is amped up on a song like Brainfreeze. Pop economy with a distorted guitar edge is a tried and true formula. And Bully really know how to make it work. That’s not to say they’re formulaic, it’s to say that they work within a set of rules we’ve heard in action plenty of times before, while finding something fresh to do within those rules.

It’s funny that it was a comparison to 90s grunge that made me listen to Feels Like. Because more than anything, tracks like Trying and Six reminds me of one my favourite discoveries of last year, the ultra millennial, ultra hipster Chumped and their record Teenage Retirement. More than just the sweet girl/angry guitar combo, there’s a similar attitude behind the sound so both bands. A bratty, spit in your face that has no problems embracing bubble gum melodies.

Bully 2

Full disclosure, I went back to the Vulture article and read the full review. Turns out, I took the Nirvana thing just a little out of context. “Bully are something of a grunge throwback, sounding like a band that could have opened for Nirvana circa Bleach, but Bognanno’s trenchant and delightfully surreal lyrics keep them feeling fresh (in both senses of the word).” But that’s cool, because while Feels Like wasn’t the album I went in wanting, it turned out to be something even better. An album I was in no way expecting, and still really liked.

Bully

Other Opinions Are Available. What did these people have to say about Feels Like?
Pitchfork
Spin Magazine
KTSW

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