Progression or dysfunction. It’s a considerable debate for Eagulls oldest fans and their newest, on their second LP Ullages.
Back in 2014, the Leeds groups debut LP electrified raw punk energy. Totally chaotic and self-destructive, Eagulls’ debut imploded in on its own amplifiers in a beautiful manner. Two years later, and Ullages depicts an intriguing change in Eagulls as a whole.
Big changes in the sound from one album to another isn’t anything new. Countless modern acts (The Maccabees, The Horrors, Lust For Youth to name a few) have changed their sound completely much to varied responses from fans and critics. Eagulls simply seem to be the next in line.
As an avid supporter of Eagulls’ music since Council Flat Blues in 2011, this change in style isn’t at all shocking, nor disappointing.
The progression between 2011 to 2014 Eagulls was apparent, but the general fuzz behind Eagull’s sound remained effervescent. From 2014 to Ullages, Eagulls change in sound isn’t as catastrophic as certain publications seem to be expressing.
Of course, each opinion is merely an opinion, and Eagulls progression on Ullages, is merely progression.
The hard-hitting punk of Eagulls’ debut LP is still there, buried within each track. Blume, Skipping and Lemontrees are Ullages’ most blatant punk tracks, for those who need heavy cries, partnered with crashing guitars to identify with. Blume leads a rhythmic digression from Psalms gothic exterior, as broken sound waves clash with a set of George’s whaling cries, led by Mark and Liam’s guitar work, before cutting into the work of Tom and Henry, roaring ahead into the beginning of Skipping.
More a charge than a march, the joint force of Tom’s bass and Henry’s drums are enough of a statement on their own. Simply piecing together the vented up energy of these five punks, Skipping is marked as Ullages’ key track in displaying Eagull’s progression in sound.
Non-single tracks (at this current date), Heads or Tails, and Velvet are maliciously enticing into discovering Eagulls next step. The opener of Ullages, quickly plants the idea of a Smith’s style record in mind, with the echoing guitar work, which feels mere moments away from bursting into a verse of How Soon Is Now? It’s gothic layering, paired with George’s moody vocals are sublime, perfectly evoking the sound that Ullages seems to have unearthed in Eagulls.
Similarly on Velvet, deterring synthetics in turn with George’s rhythmic lyrics, feel unfamiliar to Eagulls previous sound, yet have an alluring and beautifully clean energy to keep Velvet going, as it travels through the many realms of punk energy that Eagulls now possess.
The biggest marker of change in Eagulls as a whole however has come from My Life In Rewind undoubtedly. Bringing together guitars that sway harmoniously with attentive precision, the track boasts being Ullages’ longest throughout the entire album. Five and a half minutes transform into a life time of musical history, combining the beauty of 80’s indie and punk together, with the contemporary influences of updated, clear shoegaze, for a mesmerising centrepiece, even if it is only the 3rd track.
Eagulls’ jump back to the glam and style of 80’s post-punk, drowning in shoegaze, and ferocious courage throughout Ullages. Retaining a crisp, clearer sound, that’s just as punk as their debut, it’s exactly what everyone wanted from them.
Punk is a movement not a moment. It challenges and changes. It’s not just bold in the ‘loud and aggressive’ manner it has become associated with. Punk provokes, it causes a reaction, it gets people debating, discussing, sharing thoughts and interests. The constant butt-hurt of ‘die-hard’ fans, who kick and scream when any band dare to go off-road with their sound, diverting from the path that has been dictated for them, is a constant struggle for bands. A boring one at that as well.
Anyone who claims Ullages to be anything but punk (and essentially not Eagulls), truly doesn’t understand punk music in the slightest.
Anyone who claims Ullages is a step in the wrong direction for Eagulls, well they’re clearly standing still.