by: Westin Boland
Album: Feels Like
Label: Columbia / Startime
Release Date: June 25th, 2015
I think Alicia Bognanno seems way too nice to be a bully, even though her band carries that namesake. Judging from Feels Like, if Alicia were a bully she would definitely be the brooding, misunderstood bully in detention wearing a flannel shirt no matter how hot it was outside (a la Judd Nelson in the Breakfast Club but way less 2edgy4u) Feels Like well, feels like a really comfortable conversation with a friend about all of the B.S they’ve had to deal with recently. The initial track, “I Remember” wastes no time beating around the bush and launches into a headbangingly great song that is about a previous relationship that ended and how you remember little things like what makes that other person mad and what they do for Christmas. It’s a very confessional song with so much energy but it doesn’t feel overbearing or sappy, it sets the pace for the rest of the album very well in just under two minutes.
I’m a huge fan of the Group’s self-titled mini album from last year and Bully incorporated and reworked a lot of those same songs into Feels Like; they don’t have the same rawness of the last album but they do follow the same bubblegum garage punk uniformity of their latest work. “Brainfreeze” for instance has a slower guitar and Alicia’s vocals are cleaner and more pronounced but not as fierce as the first recording, most likely because of more stringent production work at Chicago’s Electrical Audio Studio. “Brainfreeze” is the only song where it sounds better on the first take, all of the others sound fuller especially “Sharktooth”. “Trying” is definitely one of the highlights of Feels Like and conveys social anxiety as a result of unwanted attention from being a woman and how most dudes don’t take girls in bands seriously.“I question everything/ my focus, my figure, my sexuality/ And how it matters or why it would mean anything.” Initially I was a weirded out by the beginning of the song with “Been praying for my period all week”, but admittedly that is a pretty immature sentiment and it really adds to the song because it goes with the mood Bognanno was bringing up.