Album of the Week: Bully // Losing

Hear what happens when American rock band Bully take the discordant guitars of grunge and mash them with the incisive lyricism of post-punk on their latest release, Losing.

Bully’s debut album Feels Like saw the group flirting with post/pop punk sounds. On their sophomore release Losing the group unfasten themselves from the tame melodiousness of pop punk and move towards the discordant and grotty playing style popularised by Nirvana’s 1992 seminal album, Incesticide.

With frontwoman Alice Bognanno both on the mic and in the control room, she situates her voice close to the listeners ear in each mix. Backed by layers of dissonant guitars, muddied bass and punchy drums, Bognanno’s poignantly stripped-back lyricism make for an emotionally intense listening experience.

On album opener ‘Feel the Same’ the group explore the nature of apathy. Bognanno, in a monotone and flat delivery, sings: “Cut my hair I feel the same, masturbate I feel the same, hope you’re okay I feel the same”, while the band underscore this vocal indifference with jarringly harsh instrumentation, revealing the frustration that runs submerged and parallel to states of dispassion.

Bognanno takes the lyrical immediacy of punk and pairs it with the harmonically offensive sonic style of grunge in what emerges as a unique post-punk, post-grunge sound. There’s no place for the cryptic and abstract lyricism that features throughout Nirvana songs like ‘Pennyroyal Tea’, or The Smashing Pumpkins ‘Bullet with Butterfly Wings’. Instead Bognanno’s lyricism is more conversational: “what is it about me that makes you so uncomfortable? Can we just exist without your hate and control?”.