The standard, school counselor answer as to why bullies act the way they do is to get attention. Chicagos Bully in the Hallway is doing just that, albeit with a new, hard-hitting 12-track album titled Crooks and their Castles. Your lunch money is safe for now.
Not calling the five guys who make up this band pushovers by any means, but you dont feel the overt, in-your-face aggressiveness you might have expected with a handle like theirs. Just a whole lotta rock solid, fast-paced guitar work from twin axemen Billy Kenefick and Matthew Kennedy, some of which is pretty densely layered and complex. Theyre not going to be mistaken for The Beatles any time soon, but when these two sing along with vocalist John Matthew Simon (which is often), the multifold harmonies are awfully nice, not something you usually hear in music that leans on the punk side. The by-the-book genre definition would probably be melodic hardcore, but bully, when used as an adjective, can mean supoib…er, superb. Yeah, lets stick with that. Think Weezers Rivers Cuomo at his power poppiest saying something disparaging to Iggy and The Stooges, and $#!% going down.
Its interesting; youd think that playful songs titles like Stickup Chicks, Tight Pantz, You Got Me!, and easy favorite If I Cant Have My Cake and Eat It Too… Then Ill Have Pie would lend themselves to more 1, 2, 3, 4 Ramones-type R&R (or Blink-182 tomfoolery). Theres an intricate sophistication to almost all of them though, despite some sounding like they were recorded in a makeshift home studio, which only adds to their raw, garage-y charm. If they keep this up, we may be talking about this Bully in the same breath as another Chicago band with punk tendencies who can carry a tune, and thats Rise Against.
Essential Tracks: Golden Bones, Advice, and Crooks