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Album Review: Losing by Bully

Nashville grunge act Bully released their sophomore album Losing via Sub Pop on 20th October. It’s an album that excels in just how well it executes the grunge sound. While Bully will instantly remind you of Sonic Youth, The Breeders and Nirvana it’s more than a homage. More a re-imagining of the genre with more angst and gusto.

Bully are a band with pedigree too, lead singer and guitarist Alicia Bognanno, who does double duty as her own band’s producer and recording engineer, learned her chops during an internship at the studio run by Steve Albini – often considered to be the godfather of grunge.

It’s an album that masters grunge so perfectly it’s more than the sum of its parts. They often defy the grunge logic in the same way that the Smashing Pumpkins built upon its core and pushed it into towards a more accessible alt rock sound. Also in line with the Smashing Pumpkins its often the vocal work here that lends a unique and special quality to proceedings.

Alicia Bognanno’s vocal is superb throughout. Whether it be the clean vocals of ‘Blame’ or the latent aggression and screams in ‘Seeing It’ there’s an infectious and captivating quality that begs you to listen to more and more. At the quiet times the vocal is simply beautiful, when it’s angry it’s just superb, it manages to sucker you in and condense all your problems, anxieties and rage.

It’s grunge with a modern twist. It takes on today’s world and all its problems, although it’s roots are in the 90s it is current and all too relevant. It probably won’t blow you away though, while it’s a thrilling listen there are a couple of moments where it’s a little too like Hole. That said there isn’t a weak track on Losing. Forget preconception and enjoy this for the impassioned visceral grunge it is.

AD Rating 8/10

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