Album Review: Eagulls – ‘Eagulls’

Leeds punks hint at cracks of light on a stunning debut LP otherwise engulfed by the dark mundanity of everyday life.

In the current music scene, where bands are pushed to make that debut LP all too quickly, Eagulls are an anomaly. The Leeds-based five-piece have a string of releases to their name, from early split 12″s to a five-track EP. It is only now, however, that they are taking their say-it-how-it-is punk beyond the boundaries of Leeds, with a run of singles, culminating in this debut album, support slots with Parquet Courts and an appearance on the David Letterman’s famous American talkshow. Yes, really.

Eagulls is surely an early candidate for the essential album of 2014

There is a very definite formula to Eagulls’ songwriting, traceable right back to debut single, ‘Council Flat Blues’: swirling guitars, alternating between irresistible riffs and indiscernible racket; pounding, almost Krautrock basslines; and distorted vocals, masking the often dark messages that the songs carry. Yet, while most songs adhere to these rough guidelines, Eagulls never wanes, and is surely an early candidate for the essential album of 2014.

‘Nerve Endings’ opens proceedings. A recent single: loud, fast and anthemic – it sums up Eagulls in four blistering minutes. The middle one-two of ‘Tough Luck’ and ‘Possessed’ demonstrates Eagulls at their supreme best. The former takes the topic of lead singer George Mitchell’s granddad’s thalidomide-caused deformities, combining it with an all too catchy chorus and jangly guitar riff, while the latter is slower-paced, builds around a Gang Of Four bassline, yet hits us with that familiar in-your-face chorus.

2014 is set to be Eagulls’ year and then some

However, the album is not the complete misery-laden spectacle you’d be forgiven for expecting. ‘Hollow Visions’ is about as catchy a rock n roll song you’ll hear all year, with a stunning guitar hook. ‘Fester/Blister’ comes straight from Iceage‘s book of punk. It is left to penultimate song ‘Opaque’ to show us just how much Eagulls are capable of; updated first-wave punk with a shoegaze guitar line, forceful vocals and an early Cure chorus. Genius.

This is a formidable statement. 2014 is set to be Eagulls’ year and then some. Thirty-seven minutes. Ten tracks. Five out of five. Job done.

Eagulls will be released on 3rd March 2014 on Partisan Records. It is available to pre-order now.

Alex Neely

…Alex is listening to Pavement – Slanted and Enchanted…


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