There is a lot to be said about restarts. That is what Bully’s third record, SUGAREGG, feels like as founder Alicia Bognanno admits that finding the proper treatment for her bipolar II disorder radically altered her mindset, freeing her from a cycle of paranoia and insecurity about her work. With that piece said, Bully is more solo driven and feels free of any constraints that the sophomore album Losing (2017) may have had. In fact, SUGAREGG comes out of the gate full throttle with big hooks, plenty of scorching guitar and lyrics that sound better when you shout with them!
After taking on just about all the behind the scenes duties on their first two records, Bognanno decided to look for someone else this round for recording and mixing responsibilities and snagged the known John Congleton, (St. Vincent, Sleater-Kinney, The War on Drugs, Modest Mouse.) You can definitely tell a difference as SUGAREGG has a much wider sonic range. Bognanno already had a dynamic voice but with the right tweaks here it jumps out of your speakers on angst ridden tracks like “Where To Start” and “Not Ashamed.”
If you have been following Bully, I feel this record easily surpasses Losing but does not quite reach the highlights of their2015 debut, Feels Like. With that said, what I really like about SUGAREGG is its “no apologies” approach. Bognanno sounds fresh, spirited and in some parts – just plain raw. You put those components together and then add quality songwriting and a production that really pops, it all equates to a solid record for Bully.
Key Tracks: “Where To Start” / “Like Fire” / “What I Wanted”
Artists With Similar Fire: Diet Cig / Wild Flag / Speedy Ortiz
-Reviewed by Thomas Wilde