Brash and opinionated, short and sharp, fast and furious, Leeds punk five piece Eagulls are the missing link in your record collection between post-punk and slacker rock, and every bit as essential as that description may sound.
Since forming in 2009, Leeds-based Eagulls have become synonymous with a discontented, disillusioned kind of anger, molded into bullets of post punk that’s rife with urgency and aggression.
Brought together by drummer Henry Ruddell and guitarist Mark ‘Goldy’ Goldsworthy, they were later joined by friends Liam Matthews on guitar and Tom Kelly on bass. After struggling to find a singer that fitted with their vision for the band, they roped in George Mitchell to be their frontman without ever having heard him sing before.
It was a risk that paid off, with their debut single ‘Council Flat Blues’ written a week after their first rehearsal together. It was an attention-grabbing introduction to the band: A seething cut of vitriolic riffs and barked lyrics about the things that occur in the vicinity of council flats, it announced Eagulls as an uncompromising, invigorating burst of excitement in a musical landscape littered with bands more focused on fashion and nostalgia – a trend the group took aim at in a now infamous open letter posted online.
For a band like Eagulls, touring is their lifeblood, as shown through the relentless bouts of gigging that have coloured their four years together, in between working tedious day jobs in the bars and retail outlets of Leeds together. Booking support slots with the likes of Iceage, Merchandise and Fucked Up they’ve carved out a reputation for chaotic and confrontational live shows.
Now, following further standalone releases, their debut album is complete and slated for release in early 2014. Finessing the incensed spirit of their early tracks and gigs, it sets its stall out as a heavier, darker and more exhilarating step on from what’s come before. ‘Nerve Endings’, opening track and first taste of the record, encapsulates that in throbbing bass and George hollering “can’t find my end” whilst ‘Fester-Blister’ provides an anthemic streak cutting through a wall of frenetic noise. ‘Tough Luck’ takes inspiration from outside the punk pool associated with Eagulls, boasting a rumbling Joy Division-esque bassline. It all ends on the searing rush of ‘Soulless Youth’, which finds George declaring “I never feel fine/They’re soulless inside… the soulless youth” with enough bile to make it clear just how he feels about his generation.
“We’re all more pessimistic, more jaded, more cynical,” explains Goldy of the band’s moodier shift. “When you finish uni, you’ve got optimism and you think everything’s going to be alright. You think you’ll just take a shit job in a shop and you’ll only have to do it for a while but then you’re still there a year later…”
It’s this frustration and sardonicism that fuels Eagulls and lights a match under their first LP. Though they admit to there being “lighter moments” on the record, on the whole it’s a gloomy, overcast affair. Influenced by post-punk and shoegaze (primarily the sonic assaults of My Bloody Valentine) combined with their own background in hardcore bands, it follows their first trip to America earlier this year for SXSW ( a trip the band sacked in their jobs to take) – the catalyst for their signing to US indie label Partisan.
Since their return home, the band have been largely quiet whilst they finished work on the album. “We haven’t been able to play as much because we’ve been in the studio” says Goldy.
With the record now complete and ready for release, expect their own unique brand of mayhem to be lighting up venues around the country as they return to their natural environment of the road to reinforce their abrasive brilliant reputation once more.