Article by Dave Wright
There are few bands that would be willing to purchase a pig’s brain and film its decomposition in their basement as a source of inspiration. Eagulls happens to be one of those bands. And although the effort resulted in one terrified gas meter reader and a call to the police, if it in any way assisted in the creation of their eponymous debut there is little doubt it was worth it. 2014’s Eagulls has a relentlessly driving pulse, created in no small part by bassist Tom Kelly, who channels Joy Division’s Peter Hook throughout the album, and drummer Henry Ruddel’s persistent and gripping beats. Heavy fuzz over catchy guitar riffs creates an ideal atmosphere for singer George Mitchell to belt out his intensely personal lyrics. The album earned them immediate recognition in the alternative music community and invites to festivals like SXSW and CMJ.
This year saw the release of Ullages, an album that contains a much more mature and multilayered sound that escapes easy characterization, though it often receives the moniker of “post-punk” that the band earned in their early days. As Mitchell put it in an interview with Drowned in Sound, there’s no point in making the same record twice. And this is definitely not the same record. While their debut was superb, it was a bit uniform. Not so with Ullages. The majority of songs are slowed down; there is more effort to create effect through rhythmic changes and variety of sound. The guitar sounds are atmospheric and ethereal and the bass ventures into the melodic, an area the band seemed almost allergic to in their first record. There is no doubt this is a band that is willing to push themselves beyond what is comfortable and take chances with their music.
And that is exactly why the show on November 22 at Midi Livehouse is worth going to. This band is growing, experimenting and pushing into new areas and that spirit manifests itself at their live shows. Some shows can be seen and enjoyed; others are complete immersive experiences and that is what you can expect when Eagulls come to town.
Be sure to arrive in time for the opening band, Xi’an’s own The Fuzz. For those who have never seen them, this is the perfect chance. For those who have, there’s no doubt you already knew not to miss them.