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Bully excellently reckons with loss and strife on Lucky For You

"Lucky For You"

Release date: 02 June 2023
Bully - Lucky For You cover
02 June 2023, 09:00 Written by Steven Loftin

For the last ten years, Bully's Alicia Bognanno has been an alt-rock voice that’s been hard to resist

Over the years the Nashville based Minnesotan has delivered EP’s and albums that have featured raggedy distorted guitars over which she howls her disgruntled distaste at everything from ex-lovers to deeper hurt, and generally the experience of growing, loving, and learning.

2019's Sugaregg, Bognanno brought to the game a bulkier, more produced, but nevertheless raw sound. Detailing further back through the albums – including her 2015 debut Feels Like and 2017's followup Losing – comes a clear indication of the trail of success that has appeared, helping her establish just where her project could go. The bouncing naivety of 2013's Bully EP never feels far behind but, as is life, maturation takes precedence

With that, Lucky For You is the most dynamic Bognanno has sounded. Along for the ride comes an exploration of the deeply personal and the political, while leaving little unturned on the path to progressing the project she started back in 2013.

This time around hooks the are more apparent. They're uncloaking themselves from the string-rattling to be more constructed and purposeful; “Days Move Slow” delivers them immediately in a luscious alt-rock euphoria; “Change Your Mind” folds in on itself gloriously; "Lose You" (featuring Soccer Mommy) ambles its way to a saccharine chorus featuring a wave of melody.

Managing to anchor tracks around sweetly succinct little lines that deliver a knock-out gut punch, (“All I wanted was to feel / I don't need another friend” she asserts on "Change Your Mind") most of the album comes from the loss of Bognanno’s beloved dog Mezzi – an iconic feature throughout Bully’s career. “A Wonderful Life” brings the loss and hurt beautifully and brazenly to the surface in a poignantly stabbing way that if you’ve ever lost a beloved pet hits you like a freight train.

It's the political moments that strike tough, however. It's some of the most forwardly political Bognanno has been. "Ms. America" features a sparse, repeated guitar line backing her opine for her anthropomorphic motherland's current political and societal strife ("Wondering how you could respect her / And then take her back in time"). It's poignant and lowers your guard for the angsty grand finale "All This Noise". Pummeling distortion outward as Bognanno angrily condemns every issue from gun control, to abortion rights, and global warming, it eventually leads to her throwing her hands up: "What else is there to do / When you can't escape the news?"

Undoubtedly Bully’s best album yet, Lucky For You is the culmination of growing up and dealing with the shit stuff; death, the world, etc. But it never wallows in the mire. Instead it jumps up, hair flying wildly, and sticks a middle finger in the air, ready to kick out the jams.

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