Bully - Feels Like

Released: June 23, 2015
Lisa Sanchez 


Nashville alt-rock quartet Bully recently released their debut album Feels Like on June 23 and it is an amazing start for a band that can only improve. My first introduction to Bully was in an Australian rock blog article titled "9 Bands Bringing Back the 90s" which piqued my interest both for my love of a great throwback and my yearning for a resurgence of riot grrrrl bands. Bully don't perfectly fit into either category, but they skillfully blaze their own trail while uniquely embodying their musical influences.
 
Feels Like kicks the door open with the first song "I Remember" where vocalist Alicia Bognanno yells "I remember, I remember my old habits, I remember getting too fucked up and I remember throwing up because..." waking up the audience with strong drums and trailing guitar to accompany her shouted memories. However, the singer flawlessly transitions from a raspy yell to a smooth singing voice. Bognanno achieves this transition numerous times throughout Feels Like, but if you're not familiar with he band it's hard to believe it's the same person.
 
The album rolls along with "Reason" a bouncier, happier song compared to Bully's opener. "Reason" also shows the why the band originally kicked open the door for the album in the first place; to let in all the fuzz. The track is laced with heavy, fuzzy, bass lines that add a great deep end and rhythm to the song and couples well with the consistent guitar licks. Bully isn't just about being warm and fuzzy (literally) opining about past mistakes and lamenting possibilities. The band has teeth and they aren't afraid to show them.
 
We get to see Bully's jaws with the tracks "Trying" and "Trash". "Trying" starts off pretty easy going, but Bognanno's candid lyrics are simultaneously off-putting and endearing. She casually states she's been praying for her period all week and figure out her search for clarity. If you want one example of flawless vocal transitions, Bognanno goes from a powerful yell to a silky coo in the short span of singing the chorus. My theory at this point is that she has a fetal twin or two larynxes. "Trash" begins slow, with a slightly eery, accusatory tone to a point where you can feel the venom in the vocalist's voice. All of Feels Like has that air of 90s influence and a whisper of Nirvana with the introspective lyrics and strong, but minimalist instrumentals, but "Trash" could be a valiant attempt at a new era of "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Bully are most likely not the new Nirvana, but they're definitely an alternative reality version where Kurt Cobain was born a woman and makes zero allusions to Courtney Love's vagina.
 
The realness just keeps coming with "Six" which acts as an unusual, catchy, sad, empathetic confessional where Bognanno enters immediately with, "When I was six I broke my sister's arm...Of course, it wasn't intentional, but it still makes me sad to remember." Despite what could be construed as an admittance of pent-up guilt, "Six" is actually very light and continues the story with, "When I was eight I broke my own arm, jumping off the top of the slide. And I know it didn't make us even, so I slept on it for one whole night." That small personal anecdote sets up the song as an ode to the ones we love. It is one of the most naturally conversational songs I can recall hearing and its organic tempo and cadence makes it my favorite off of the album, mostly for the chorus, "I wouldn't do that to you, because fuck those jerks. They don't know you're great, but I do."
 
Feels Like is 100% energetic fun lined with all of your embarrassing youthful follies. Bully's debut album is a terrific start for a band that I can only see succeeding. This album can be your summer, fall, winter, and spring jam and no one would judge you for it. Buy this album or live to regret the inevitable soul death you'll experience. The band is currently on tour with Best Coast for their summer 2015 tour.
 
Rating: 89/100