Just so you know, Eagulls destroy any comparisons to The Eagles right out of the gate. Don’t even think of claiming this British punk band is ripping off the California classic rock band. Eagulls (Mark Goldsworthy – guitar, Henry Ruddel – drums, Liam Matthews – guitar, Tom Kelly – bass, George Mitchell – vocals) could leave the Hotel California whenever they wanted, because they would play a gig at the hotel bar and blow a hole through the wall in the process.
“Nerve Endings” gets the party started quickly with guitar licks that A Place to Bury Strangers would love and a relentless bass line by Kelly. Mitchell’s vocals tend to sound like he was recorded in an empty swimming pool, and that’s fine with me. The vocal effects throughout the record are great. This song slayed the British rock charts, and one listen is all it takes to know why.
“Hollow Visions” may be about the band’s attitude toward the record industry. They are infamous for a handwritten letter to the SXSW Music Festival that trashed the promoters and many bands at the show for being disingenuous. Who’s going to call them out on it when they make rock this deafening and raw?
“Yellow Eyes” (which seems to be about an agnostic wrestling with the choices of atheism and Christianity) has Ruddel unleashing on his kit while the rest of the band delivers up some early Love & Rockets madness and Mitchell shouts to the rafters. “Tough Luck” continues that Love & Rockets / Bauhaus vibe, and “Amber Veins” launches into glorious Joy Division territory with Goldsworthy and Matthews leading the song with their guitars playing licks best suited for breaking the Earth’s gravitational pull.
“Possessed” is a song Frank Black hears in his dreams (and Ruddel and Kelly throw down the Rhythm Section Gauntlet to all other rock bands on it). It sounds like the band is breaking their guitars during it, but it works. “Footsteps” is one of the harshest break-up songs I’ve heard in a long while (i.e., “Think up your counterfeit mind and keep both of your eyes peeled up for nothing in depth.”). “Fester / Blister” belongs on every Danzig fan’s mp3 player of choice. “Opaque” is a New Order song (just listen to those guitars and that bass) with punk vocals about the vague truths we all dance around in relationships. The closer, “Soulless Youth,” is a smack in the face to twenty-somethings who feel the world has jilted them before they’ve even experienced it, and how they’ll do nothing to change it.
This album is a sonic assault from beginning to end. It is brash, searing, and takes no prisoners. It’s only a matter of time before they cross the pond and start frightening and fascinating American audiences. Be sure to be among them.
Nik Havert is a writer, DJ at WSND 88.9FM University of Notre Dame, harmonica player, martial arts instructor, comic book publisher, crime fighter,music lover, cult movie enthusiast, and modern day Renaissance man. He hopes to shark cage dive sometime in the next few years and enjoys travel and good natural root beer. Visit his web site at http://www.picklepress.net.
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