By: The Busted Amp Staff
DEREK: Alicia Bognanno was born in the wrong decade. Her band, Bully, channels what feels like years of angst and frustration into an 11 song, 31 minute rocker of a debut album that could have catapulted them to stardom in the early 90’s grungy garage-punk era. And while there’s a niche for every artist in this digital music age, there’s a confidence and “fuck it” level of honesty on this album that can resonate with fans both in and out of the genre. And they have the poppy hooks to prove it.
Lyrically, the album covers the full garnet of growing pains and teenage experiences, and Alicia has the raw, howling voice to project it genuinely and believably; the Courtney Love/Kim Deal/Kim Gordon comparisons are inevitable. On “Trying”, Alicia croons “I’ve been praying for my period all week, a relief that I just can't see/I question everything, my focus, my figure, my sexuality” over a smooth bass line. But the calm is short-lived and is quickly interrupted by her guttural wails of “Trying to hate from my mind, I am/Trying all the time, I am” during the chorus.
Comparisons to female grunge royalty aside, Alicia’s vocals drive this album’s personality. No amount of standard early 90’s bass lines, quiet/loud juxtaposition, and familiar-sounding fuzzed guitar riffs can take that away from her. This is as solid of a debut as I expected since I first heard “Trying” as a single on college radio. If the band can continue to grow in their songwriting to compliment Alicia’s honest and powerful lyrics, the future is not as tough as she would have us think.
My Number: 6/10
Joseph: Well, I'm not as high on this album as you are, Derek. Yes, there are some good lyrics on here, and some good moments overall. The album opens with an explosive song, "I Remember," which has Alicia Bognanno recounting a bad relationship in a rather clever way, using "I remember" to open up every line of the song. This is a good song, but there are far too many songs in here that sound incredibly dated. As you said perfectly, Alicia Bognanno was born in the wrong decade. To me, most of these tracks sound like an underwhelming and stereotypical Veruca Salt track. You know, I actually saw Veruca Salt last summer during their reunion tour, and that show was only memorable in how forgettable it was. This style of music is still enjoyed by some, but Courtney Love did a great job of killing it for everyone else. Those that like 90's garage punk will find a lot to enjoy here, but I don't know if this will be a gateway album or not. I know personally I'm not rushing to listen to Hole again after listening to Feels Like.
At the end of the day, this album to me is.....fine. It has its moments and does let me reminisce about this once major musical movement. However, my ears have definitely moved on. I'm glad the genre inspired modern bands like Paramore, but now, to me, it's a thing of the past. While this is a decent album it's also rather forgettable due to it feeling as dated as it is, and thus I have no plans to listen to it again in the future. But I'm sure they will find their niche with those that haven't had anything new come out of this genre in years, so they'll be fine.
My Number: 4/10
Final Verdict: 5/10 (Average)
Who are we?
Derek Jung and Joseph Kathmann -- Just two ordinary guys that love talking about music. You can read more about us here.