Good news folks. Manchester’s gorgeous bully have a new album! After some silly legal problems with their EP, Holsten, the band decided to merge those songs with another EP to create their “accidental” 3rd LP, great blue.
‘i can see’ throws us straight into gorgeous bully’s signature lo-fi pop. It’s catchy and fuzzy and reassuringly DIY, the perfect introduction to a band that’s been consistently making home-recorded pop gems for a while now. The chorus is the first of many which expresses discontent (“I can see a thousand places I would rather be”), buts it’s somehow heartening rather than miserable, an endearing trait that’s present across the entire album.
Lots of the songs are short and sharp, shots of a super-sweet mixture of punk sloppiness and pop sensibility. Take for example ‘in my defence’, a sub-two minute blast of slapped drums and catchy vocal lines, or ‘i can’t make it right’, a bummed out pop song that’s infectious despite its pessimistic tendencies, the wordless ooh’d chorus adding a dash of sunny garage pop.
“Days are such a drag
enough is all you have
I sit up all night
i can’t make it right”
‘Time’ is all surfy guitars that defy the sleep-encrusted lyrics, while ‘oh why’ is an anthem for the lonely kids, the stupidly catchy chorus of “oh why am I alone again? Oh why am I alone?” guaranteed to be in your head hours later. This is followed by the title track, which signals a change to Washboard Abs-style acoustic bedroom pop songs, the first of a few that presumably were to make up the great blue EP. The gloomy atmosphere takes over on these final tracks, gentle guitar gathering like dark rainclouds, the vocals soft and subdued. The vibe shows another side to gorgeous bully, stripping back the sardonic punk and the fun pop to uncover the disarmingly tender core, something perhaps most apparent in final track ‘in my life’:
“Always been a joke, never stayed afloat
in my life, and when I go you will be there
yeah you will be there waiting for me”
gorgeous bully make music that doesn’t shy away from the pains and banalities of 21st century living, existing on the self-deprecating and misanthropic end of the spectrum. But somehow things remain catchy and fun. They’re a band who understand the power of a catchy tune beneath lo-fi fuzz, who are able to make the weird kids feel great and dance around, at least for a little while.
You can get great blue now as a name-your-price download from the gorgeous bully Bandcamp page, or on a nicely designed cassette via Z Tapes.