16/5 – Stereo
From their rather smug bastardisation of the name of an equally insufferable bunch of seventies dad rockers to their portentous Morrissey-meets-Robert Smith vocals, there are a lot of reasons why Eagulls sound immensely irritating on paper. Over the past five years though they’ve built a reputation as an impressive new band, particularly with the release of their self-titled debut Eagulls, produced by MJ from Hookworms.
In the belly of Stereo, Fritz Lang’s German expressionist epic Metropolis is beamed onto the brickwork. Quite what the thread is that connects one of the foremost artistic creations of the Weimar republic with an indie band from Leeds is up for debate but it lends a certain moody glamour to proceedings that singer George Mitchell does his best to live up to.
The Eagulls singer cavorts with the swagger of Suede’s Brett Anderson, crooning and flipping his hair theatrically but tonight his bandmates don’t quite seem so inspired, delivering their new wave and post-punk inspired tunes with competency but little flair.
New single ‘Lemontrees’ gets a few audience members bouncing and a final duo of tracks from their debut even inspires a handful to pogo but overall the repetitive nature of the music is a grind not a moment of transcendence. Second album Ullages offers plenty of the same aesthetic as their debut but it’s unlikely to convince anyone who didn’t buy into Eagulls the first time round (or indeed when these sounds were first popularised circa 1985).
Sound wise it’s impossible not to draw comparisons with The Cure but the Robert Smith’s band were always as capable of sweeping romance as they were monochromatic gloom, using moments of levity to shade the despondency and occasionally turn it into something triumphant. Eagulls, impressive musical pastiche could use an injection of wit and romance to balance out the despondency.
[Max Sefton – @MaxSefton]