Eagulls ‘Eagulls’ – Review

13 Apr

If there’s one thing you learn about Eagulls on their self-titled album it’s that they’re angry young men. Angry about something, definitely, even if they can’t quite articulate what they’re angry about and even if you can’t exactly hear what frontman George Mitchell is saying. This is anger in its prepubescent, angsty form – anger without direction. We’ve all felt like Eagulls at some point; frustrated and unable to express it in anything other than a primal, guttural howl.

Mitchell falls somewhere in the murky water between Robert Smith, John Lydon and Liam Gallagher. He shouts but doesn’t scream, he’s melodic but he doesn’t really sing, he’s  insular but has swagger. It makes his a rather distinctive new voice, and it’s easily Eagulls biggest weapon. While Mitchell’s voice stands out, the songs all kind of sound the same. They’re all roughly the same length, structurally similar and many of the choruses are virtually identical. ‘Hollow Visions’ is a great song, one that would blow radio 1 wide open if they decided to play it, but alongside ‘Yellow Eyes’ it kind of gets lost in the chaos.

‘Possessed’ and ‘Opeque’ are the two songs that stand out because they are poppier and more illuminating than the rest of the album. If a few more songs went in this direction, or any other direction, the album would be a more varied and balanced proposition. As it stands It’s a rather one-dimensional album, but at least Eagulls have forged a musical identity that they can call their own. Their sound is a form of post-punk recorded in a gutter; It’s a lot more polished than their early releases and live shows made me think it would be, but the album still sounds sweaty, raw and yes, angry.

As I mentioned earlier, It’s difficult to discern exactly what Mitchell is saying, and when you read the lyrics on paper you come to the conclusion that this is probably a good thing. For a band who have demonstrated in press interviews and on their blog that they have a lot of interesting, and often controversial, things to say, Eagulls have remarkably little to talk about on their album. It’s lucky for the band that they have a frontman who is able to convey emotions, or rather one emotion, without the need for strong words.  Eagulls have an uncanny way of making slight guitar riffs and bass lines sound vast and absorbing and Mitchell has the same knack when it comes to elevating rather empty lyrics. It isn’t easy to make the listener feel something, even if you’re singing great lyrics, but Mitchell makes you feel something even when he’s not. That’s an impressive skill. So “Eagulls” may not be a perfectly formed debut, but the band aren’t dealing with perfectly formed emotions.


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