What’s the big deal about Leeds’ Eagulls? It’s a question that’s hard to answer. Their defining moment so far has arguably been writing an open letter ‘to all beach bands sucking each others’ dicks and rubbing the press’ clits,’ something they later dismissed in an interview as merely “a silly thing”. They write songs about council estates and car accidents and sleeping on people’s floors. Their gigs are notorious for being rowdy, intensely sweaty affairs that’ll most likely end in a broken nose or two. If it weren’t clear enough already, this five-piece aren’t your run-of-the-mill indie band. They’re a bunch of borderline hooligans shaking things up by making a huge racket - a racket that’s perfectly encapsulated in their self-titled debut album.
The record comes four years after debut cassette ‘Songs of Prey’, and as time has told us that it’s better to get your record out sooner rather than later, it’s a relief that the LP is brimming with angsty, pissed-off punk that gets all up in your face and demands to be heard repeatedly. Spread out across ten tracks is a refinement of everything Eagulls set themselves out to be from the get-go, from the loud and abrasive musicality, to frontman George Mitchell’s cold and exasperating lyrics regarding his own frustrations and neuroses. Everything sounds extremely tight and polished, and yet still retains all the rough edges and gritty imperfections that made the band so appealing in the first place.
Whilst their early material raised two middle fingers to everyone and everything considered as Britain’s pond scum, Eagulls take a far less political approach here, focusing more on themselves than those around them. Make no mistake though, there’s no lasting emotional connection to be found. Instead, it’s the hooks and riffs that really impress: the rowdy, riotous choruses to be heard in ‘Amber Veins’ and ‘Footsteps’ beckon amazing scenes live - they’re the kind of songs that were made to be yelled along to in the front row. Others like ‘Nerve Endings’ and ‘Tough Luck’ have such an uncanny ability to induce head-nodding that you can almost feel yourself being propelled forward by their sheer momentum.
A tour de force of Eagulls’ brash and brazen-faced formula, this is a record that’ll be ringing in your ears for days after it’s finished. Eagulls are linking punk and pop with their own blood, snot and grot, and it’s hard to turn your head away from the mess they’re making in the process. This is a band who are kicking up a fuss and are refusing to leave quietly, so for now we all might as well succumb to their antics, sing along and throw our fists up in the air whilst we’re at it.
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