Bully - Losing - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Bully - Losing

by Nathan Fidler Rating:5 Release Date:2017-10-20
Bully - Losing
Bully - Losing

It doesn’t feel like it was that long ago that Bully unleashed their fiery debut, but they’re clearly capitalising on - and hoping to lead - the movement of female-fronted 90s alternative bands. Losing comes two years after Feels Like, with the two album titles possibly interlinking.

Out of all the grunge-alt bands knocking around at the moment, Alicia Bognanno probably has the best voice for it. Genuinely digging from the back of her throat and throwing out strikingly honest lines about masturbation, control in relationships and depression, you’ll struggle to find a more compelling voice of the genre.

‘Running’ has an airy melody, but is overlaid with a kicking, screaming vocal effort in the chorus. The deft chugging of guitars gets gulped into fuzzy noise, but there is a semblance of a riff post-chorus. It's a messy effort but one which sums the album up reasonably well in one track.

While there is plenty of guitar throughout the album, it’s often lazily deployed. Whether that’s to try and suit the genre, or because they’re banking on Bognanno being compelling enough on her own is hard to tell. On tracks like ‘Guess There’ and ‘Focused’ the bass plods in an off-kilter manner, rarely doing anything more interesting, keeping things two-dimensional.

On their debut, this band felt like a breath of fresh air, but things move quickly. Where they tore through songs previously, they feel like they linger too long now. The formula of a drab melody met with grating yells does nothing to help matters when the pace is so similar on each song. ‘Either Way’ is the track with most of that old pep, while ‘Spiral’ is better example of what they can do when it all comes together, dealing out a muted riff with some peril behind it and the line: “You really like to mess with my mind and talk about the one time I fucked up”.

It’s obvious that when they put the pedal to the floor and play with some urgency they’re a better sounding band - when they slow it down, however, the songs are forgettable and the guitars become a slovenly mess. Both styles play to the genre they’re pegged with, and yet it feels like they never really nail either with that much conviction.

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