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Review: Bullpup – Love in a Fugue State

I recently had the pleasure of listening to Bullpup’s newest release Love in a Fugue State. I was pleasantly surprised by the band’s progression from their 2019 release, “No One Must Die”, and was enamored by this group’s ability to give us something new and powerful whilst also keeping their unique sound and building on it. 

Bullpup, a group that takes its influences from the likes of The Venetia Fair and Samia, spent some time at one of my favorite recording companies called 37’ Productions where I coincidentally tracked my latest record. Much of the EP was initially live tracked with engineer Sean McLaughlin including drums, bass, keys, rhythm and lead guitar. The band then went on to work with Zach Bloomstein, who also engineers at 37’, to finish the guitar doubles and harmony leads, as well as vocals. 

This newest work created by the band gives us a ton of great tracks that often pair sad and reflective lyrics with uptempo, bright instrumentation. You can hear this on the track “Birch Bark” with its catchy leads and gloomy lyrics. “Birch Bark” also has some wonderful acoustic guitar and organ peppered throughout the mix underneath the core tracks. The acoustic guitar and organ expertly juxtapose the somber, introspective lyrics and help to brighten up this song in a spectacular way. 

Another track that I particularly enjoyed dissecting was “Kitten”. This song opens up with a harmonized guitar lead accompanied by a trombone that makes a strangely epic intro by creating such a unique timbre. The trombone is an integral part of this track, later coming back in as the lead for a short time and eventually trading solos with guitar and piano towards the end of the song giving the listener a beautiful bouquet of sound. I can’t help but hear bands like Say Anything in “Kitten” due to its almost rag timey and punk show tune esque vibe as well as the band’s use of layered vocals and harmonized guitar leads. 

The last track I wanted to discuss from Love in a Fugue State is a song called “Raspberry Rum”. This is a personal favorite of mine from the EP as it showcases a classic fuzz rock feel from the band. What I love about this track the most isn’t just those crunchy guitars, but the piano which helps to differentiate this from other fuzz rock songs giving it a different essence and quality all together. The chord progression and leads are reminiscent of late 90’s and early 2000’s punk and yet just as boisterous and crunchy as its successors from today’s heavier rock outfits including Microwave and Ovlov. At last the gang vocals at the end of the song, recorded by a group of the band’s friends and its members, help bolster the outro for a wholesome and fitting finish to this tune.

Love in a Fugue State is most certainly a stepping stone for Bullpup as they continue to make inspiring and insightful music. Armed with a singular sound of their own and the ability to meld their influences together in an outstanding way, this band is sure to continue pumping out remarkable tracks into the future. 

-Zachary Boudrot

Featured photo by Danielle Danis