Bully: SUGAREGG (Sub Pop) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Sub Pop

Aug 25, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Bully’s third album SUGAREGG opens with a rousing start, blasting out of the gate with raucous opener “Add It On,” and the rapid fire, post-punk sonic assault doesn’t stop until the last note of closer “What I Wanted” 11 tracks later. Not necessarily a bad thing, just hard to absorb all in one sitting.

But Bully (the project led by Alicia Bognanno) is not your average post-punk band. In fact it’s difficult to pigeonhole them as post-punk at all since there is much more going on than you first realize. With the attitude of Sonic Youth and a sound that can arguably be described as a convergence of a caffeinated Sleater-Kinney and Cherry Glazerr on speed, they tend to cram a lot of music into their songs. Each one is a densely packed mix of angular guitar riffs, thumping bass, and tight drumming. At times it’s difficult for the listener to unpack and decipher everything that is going on, but substantive music exists for those willing to put in the time.

With a knack for stripping rock songs to the bare essentials of drums, bass, and guitar and then building them back up with simple but rapid rhythms, and short, pointed hooks, Bully’s acid-pop guitar squalls and fuzzy guitar swirls fit nicely with the rapid fire drumming and Bognanno’s emotionally charged vocals and candid lyrics. Although her voice is more gritty than glamorous—what do you expect from a band named Bully?—it fits the aesthetic well.

The feverish pace barely allows time to breathe, every segment filled with sound, creating a dense and cluttered mix that sometimes smothers the inner beauty. But the pounding rhythmic drums and supercharged guitars are suppressed enough to not be overbearing, so when the pace is slowed a bit, the more melodic fragments shine through, as on the exceptional single “Every Tradition,” and other tracks such as “Like Fire” and closer “What I Wanted” that have the same punchy sheen as Belly songs.

SUGAREGG certainly isn’t the most groundbreaking record musically but Bully is certainly innovative in approach and original in delivery and listeners will find some edgy and cool post-punk to latch on to if they stick with it long enough. (www.bullythemusic.com)

Author rating: 6.5/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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