Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Album Review :: Eagulls - Ullages



May 13 2016 (Partisan)


Words: Ellie Ward

Leeds' Eagulls have taken for the title of their second album 'Ullages' - an anagram of their name - and poured in a liberal amount of dark, layered post-punk suffused with goth-rock and shoegaze that more than equals, if not actually surpasses, their debut of two years ago. The result is a brutal work, but one that is full of beauty.

There are many highlights amongst the 11 tracks here, with the reverb-drenched guitars being at the forefront of most - exemplified from the off in the majestic, yet sensitive, echoes of opener 'Heads Or Tails' with a chilling guitar riff that has you in its claw, before George Mitchell’s foreboding vocal reflects on: “It’s hard to tell who we are this time.” The chiming 'Euphoria' is aptly euphoric, with some artfully delivered glistening delayed guitar work by Mark Goldsworthy and Liam Matthews, and Henry Ruddel’s drums lending further atmospheric weight to the track.

The sprawling beast that is 'My Life In Rewind' is where Eagulls rip a new, more textural, sound in all its emotive, lush finery that worms its way sinuously into your head. Mitchell's vocals adding an air of both gloom and depth to the refined lyric writing. Along with 'Skipping' it is an album stunner. The latter is four-minutes-plus of textured hypnotic pounding bass line, heavy drums and Mitchell's enigmatic vocals that opine over lyrics,“‘Cause all I ever wanted was an answer/But all I ever got was this broken record skipping,” impart a brooding Robert Smith magnificence.

'Blume', meanwhile, elicits propulsive guitars behind the Mitchell wail that errs to what one might expect of a latterday Joy Division; the smooth 'Velvet' offers a shoegaze glaze over creative effects, while 'Psalms' pummels out the goth-rock vibe. 'Lemontrees', the first single cut from the record, is an expansive shimmering jangle of guitars, once more with shades of The Cure to its bones.

Difficult second album? It doesn't seem to have proved a problem for Eagulls. Maybe the third will prove their bĂȘte noire, but right now their dark Northern angst still proves an affecting pleasure.

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