“The quality of the songwriting [has] to be heard to be believed... they could end up being the UK answer to Black Eyed Peas.” - Guardian, ‘New Band of the Day’
“These lads are going to be massive...Poptastic” Daily Star
Beatbullyz will release their much-anticipated debut album, ‘Human Nature’, on October 4th(Big Weekend Records / Universal /Absolute). This will be preceded by the release of the anthemic title track on September 19th, and follows a string of summer shows at the likes of Wireless Festival, Brick Lane Takeover and a headline date at Club NME (Koko) on August 6th. Having supported acts includingProfessor Green, Example and JLS, the band will announce a host of headline dates shortly.
Like all great fairytales, Beatbullyz’ story begins in...Swindon. “The last big things that came out of Swindon,” notes singer and songwriter Andrew “Bully” Bullimore, “were Billie Piper, Melinda Messenger and XTC.” Beatbullyz formed when Bully met the man with whom he (somewhat unusually) now shares co-frontman status - Daniel “Bozo” Dubose. They are the quintessential odd couple: the former the middle-class son of a music teacher and an actuary, who grew up on classic British pop, and the latter from a rough council estate, where his mum confiscated his NWA tapes. Bully and Bozo soon began to fight together - representing England in martial arts - and then write songs together.
Their emerging brand of cut-and-paste pop quickly gained them a fierce hometown following (they’ve consistently sold out 1200-capacity venues). Soon, those outside Swindon began to take notice. When Radio1’s Big Weekend came to town in May 2009, Beatbullyz were booked to play by Huw Stephens. “Huw told us he’d never seen the BBC Introducing tent so rammed,” says Daniel, and Stephens remains one of the band’s most fervent supporters. Having spent a particularly surreal Spring 2010 supporting N-Dubz ontour – see Dappy paint-balling his own fans – Beatbullyz began to be exposed to bigger, broader and even more ecstatic audiences. Radio 1’s Fearne Cotton, Greg James, Annie Mac and Scott Mills consequently jumped on board, resulting in the band being asked back to headline the BBC Introducing Stage at this year’s Big Weekend.
That’s the basic biog, but it doesn’t tell the half of it. What it doesn’t convey is the extent to which Beatbullyz’ success is entirely self-made: they run their own label, and spearhead a good deal of their own promo (frequently running off stage to meet fans, sticker strangers, and take down email addresses). They also pen all their own songs, with Bullimore producing the album himself alongside Chris Baker from Mint Royale and Jim Eliot of Kish Mauve (Kylie, Sunday Girl, Ladyhawke). The size of the sound they make becomes all the more surprising when you learn that it was in part recorded at Andrew’s Grandmother’s house in Wales. “She was watching the History Channel at the time,” he notes.
‘Human Nature’, then, is a bright, bold and incredibly accomplished debut record, which sweeps you up in its energy and bashes away any possible preconceptions. Here are nine, no-mucking-around pop moments, marked by an effortless interplay of musical styles: see the orchestral synthpop of ‘Golden City’, the melancholic hip-hop ballad ‘Pieces’, and the euphoric dance groove of ‘Bounce’. There’s even a surprising guest turn from Twilight heartthrob Robert Pattinson’s sister (Lizzy lends vocals to the closing track, ‘Heartbeat’). And though the music is largely buoyant throughout, the band’s lyrics prove surprisingly deep. Several tracks speak of being broke, of family pressures, and of the dream that people might one day hear their music. ‘Human Nature’, then, is an occasionally brash but oddly reflective record, mixing floor-fillers with real feeling.
So some may stumble over the band name, but Beatbullyz have made an album of big, honest and essentially heartfelt songs (and they really canwrite a tune). They are a self-raising, DIY success story, and frankly we need more of them.
TOUR DATES (More TBC):
24 July – Tramlines Festival, Sheffield (with Tinchy Stryder, The Hoosiers) / 30 July – Mandella Hall, Belfast (with Alexandra Burke) / 31 July – SECC, Glasgow (with JLS) / 6 August – Koko, London (Club NME: headline show) / 7 August – BBC Introducing, Luton Town Festival / 25 August – BBC Introducing, Reading Oakfold Social / 27 August – Manchester, Moho / 28 August – Bath, Moles / 4 September – Bristol, Cooler.