Stalwarts of Manchester’s DIY scene for years now, Former Bullies make charming lo-fi pop that recalls the best that that city has offered up over the years. Plenty of Velvet Underground in there too, particularly on lead single ‘Stranger’. Now on their fourth album, the band have honed their craft to such a point that the record feels light and buoyant while still showcasing some fine songwriting chops.
7/10 Clinton Staff review, 27 February 2017
Thank God for the misery caused by the end of long term relationships.
If it weren't for this bleak loneliness and despair then half the records we stock wouldn't exist. The latest sufferer is Former Bullies Nick Ainsworth who has channelled his nightmares into the first new Former Bullies record in quite some time. That all said it's not an altogether bleak affair. Former Bullies have a lo-fi down and dirty garage rock sound that could make anything sound chirpy and hopeful. The band has something in common with the Wave Pictures particularly on 'Rose of Destiny' which lurches from upbeat garage rock to the sort of weepalong sections that you might expect from someone who has been through the mill. What this also means is that Ainsworth's voice can be a bit samey - I'm waiting...waiting for him to hit another key at some point. I can't decide if I'm preferring the upbeat garage pop or the tear drenched weepers....but what I'm not sure about is when it all happens in the same song. I sometimes want to grab Ainsworth by the lapels and advise him in no uncertain terms to keep going with the blasts of garage rock such as the title track....oh and not to fret - there are plenty more fish in the sea.
But this is an enjoyable lo-fi record that will appeal to fans of Jonathan Richman, Billy Childish and Herman Dune....you just have to immerse yourself in Ainsworth's world view that's all. And for bonus points there's a dog on the cover too. That alone is worth a 7.
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- Stranger by Former Bullies
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