Earlier in the year, there was much hype about this lot. It hadn’t died down by the Autumn, either, as they impressed a sell-out crowd.
Date: October 29, 2014
Venue: The Bodega
“No, Eagulls – E-Gulls. Not The Eagles. Who are they anyway?”, is the conversation most likely had between teenager and parent as the former headed out the door to see this feral post-punk five-piece at The Bodega.
Eagulls may share an almost identical-sounding name to the 1970s MOR rockers, particularly when spoken, but they could not sound more distant from The Eagles, even if they re-wired the old fellas to the National Grid and drip-fed them Ritilin.
No, Eagulls, it’s fair to say, are one of a kind.
They speak to a disenfranchised youth in a way the Libertines did in 2004, providing angry teenagers something to relate to yet, while The Libs lamented on tales of grotty England via a playful undercurrent, Eagulls do the same but with a gnarly, nasty spite. Their lyrics are downright ugly, nefariously throttled via George Mitchell’s shredded larynx.
Beneath the ugliness lies more ugliness. And fury. Tough Luck deals with the controversial. On this occasion thalidomide. Not an ounce of symphaphy is aired as Mitchell snarls “touch wood, tough luck, tough luck” like a demon doctor delivering his diagnosis, while Nerve Endings is ear-shreddingly brutal.
Opaque, meanwhile, is a hybrid of Joy Division’s taut-as-wire post-punk and Echo and The Bunnymen’s mystique, again local lad Mitchell (born in Ripley, Derbyshire, a mere 15 miles away) frothing at the mouth.
Mitchell’s appearance is Halloween perfect. His pale skin and blonde hair posit him somewhere between Bond baddie and the offspring of Jarvis Cocker and Thom Yorke, but with The Cure’s Robert Smith’s echoic voice.
Their relentlessly tense post-punk forges a moshpit which doesn’t cease for the whole 50 minutes.
They end with Possessed, its guitars whirring and swirling as George convincingly displays a possessed presence.
The projection on the screen behind them makes no sense at all. Their place in post-punk’s pantheon, however, is clear.