November 19, 2013

EP: Bully - Bully

Bully brings on the right kind of nostalgia. 

Nostalgia can be cloying. Here in our tumblrwave world of 90’s kid romanticization, it’s easy to get caught up in all the hype of Pokémon mood rings and tie-dyed pizza shirts. “You’re such a simp,” I tell myself after scrolling through a page of smiley face contact lenses, “You’re a simp for liking this.” Nostalgia can feel insincere. It can feel naive and bastardizing. But there are also instances of Nostalgia Done Right – a sort of memory semiotics that leads you to the most comforting places in your past.

Bully, a lo-fi rock band from Nashville, is Nostalgia Done Right. Their debut EP came out this October and it’s nothing but infectious. Lead singer Alicia Bognanno’s vocals have a perfect combination of blithe heartbreak and scabby kid sister, which is fitting for the extent that the album brings you back to summers of Kool-Aid stains and playground love affairs. “Brainfreeze," the album’s opening track, is full of fuzzy buzzy guitar riffs and all the excitement of climbing onto your rooftop at midnight. There are mentions of milkshakes, nosebleeds, and beauty queens. It’s definitely lighthearted, but the track’s ending “I know you’re in your room / but I can look at you” seems to hint at the more complicated relationship feels that manifest in “Sharktooth” and “Poetic Trash.” Thematically, “Sharktooth,” stands out as the most mature track on the album. While there are still references to dinosaurs and stern parents, it dives head-on into all the bitterness of a glitter weed romance gone wrong. Bully’s eponymous track, meanwhile, is a beautiful fuck you to mind-game meanies.

Throughout the EP, Bully hits a great balance of energy – building sun-soaked lulls into garage rock mania. Their lyrics are nostalgic for summer crushes and scraped up knees. But the album is elevated, if subtly, to something much more beautiful. So despite my nostalgic qualms, I’m really okay with that.


Listen to more Bully on bandcamp.

Jill Spisak, a college student in Boston who is really a dropout at heart. She lives for that moment between ordering cheese fries and tweeting about how good they were. Basically a dream girl.