Bands that love an era have the ability to look at it from another time and fix or confuse that sound. While many people get the nineties alt rock guitar tone wrong, Nashville’s Bully has always gotten it right. That flows over into the group’s new album SUGAREGG. Continuing with that understanding of what made those fuzzy notes so wondrous, the album offers vulnerable sides, energetic sides and even heartfelt sides without ever losing focus in the process.
The guitars on this album are big and they open up the album with intensity and melodic heft with “Add It On.” Singer guitarist Alicia Bognanno has no issue giving plenty of intensity through her vocals and immense guitar tones as well. The song is snappy and quick yet still shows plenty of growth in songwriting. Followed by “Every Tradition,” the group keeps the fuzz going and sounds like they could go up against all of the heavy players from thirty years ago. The catchy hooks that mix with the instrumentation here is masterful while the dual vocals keep the words in your head. The bridge alone is on another level and offers up a more diverse side to this strain of indie rock. The murky bass lead notes of “Where To Start” just keeps the melodic nature of how Bognanno crafts a song going.
But while the album is full of big guitars and screaming intensity, there’s songs that aren’t indie rock bangers too. “Prism,” “Come Down” and “Hours and Hours” all explore slower pacing and deliver an emotional weight that listeners may not be familiar with. It’s a gamble to slow down when you do fast so well, yet the band does this with ease while expanding on what they’re known for. While we adored the complexities behind how “Like Fire” is composed and we felt like it was one of the strongest tracks of the album, or how Bognanno channels that elusive Cobain tone on the opening of “You,” the favored song comes with “Not Ashamed.” The fevered speed of the song while coming off as intense is one thing. The energetic mix of the instruments coupled with the vocals is another. Placing them together for one song is what this song does well, and proves that Bully can add to what they’re known for, but the magic is still somewhere in the fuzz.
SUGAREGG is available to purchase in various physical formats and bundles directly from Sub Pop Records. It’s also ready to but in all digital outlets or to stream on all streaming sites.
Image Credits: Photo by Angelina Castillo.