Nashville – Hailing from Leeds, England, The Eagulls are made up of five members: Mark Goldsworthy (guitar), Henry Ruddel (drums), Liam Matthews (bass), Tom Kelly (guitar) and George Mitchell (vocals). Even if you weren’t positive where this band originated, the album cover should give it away: at first glance it appears to be just a black car parked in front of an old motel with one of the famous red telephone booths that England is known for beside it. It seems almost as if it is a straightforward, no-nonsense album cover; but after giving it a second look, I was somewhat surprised to notice a rather large detail that I had missed in the overall photo before. The vehicle is burnt through and through: what remains is the charcoaled skeleton of the car. Caution cones and tape are surrounding the car in a lackadaisical way, as if this crime scene was abandoned before the police could solve the case.
The Eagulls are brash, unafraid of criticism and already gaining fame despite only releasing their debut indie rock album on March 4, 2014. The very first track, “Nerve Endings,” opens with a grinding, vicious guitar progression, which is very quickly joined by bass and drums, followed by the rest of the band. The vocals are of particular interest throughout this album – they always seem to take on a hollowed sound, as if George Mitchell is yelling down a long, dark tunnel into your ear canal. It makes his lyrics somewhat difficult to understand at times though the running theme of the self-titled album seems to be repetition: in “Hollow Visions,” “Tough Luck,” and “Amber Veins” the choruses tend to consist of repeating the title of the tracks over and over again, usually in groups of three (i.e. in “Tough Luck,” the lyrics for the chorus are “Tough luck, tough luck, tough luck”).
The Eagulls never really fade off at the end of their songs. There is no climactic ending, no tapering off guitar solo – it’s a sudden stop that can make the listener wonder if his or her music player has frozen. It’s the musical epitome of a cliffhanger, building you up until you’re really enjoying the music and then cutting off abruptly with no warning. It’s a brilliant move that encourages you to listen on in order to fill the craving for music.
“Possessed,” a tune that has already gained attention across both the United Kingdom and United States (the band was even invited to play this song on the David Letterman show earlier in 2014) and that could be in part due to the slight pop undertones it takes on. It features the same simplicity in terms of chorus as the other tunes (“I’m possessed” is repeated three times) and an air of desperation infects lead singer’s voice, which is only appropriate given the title of the song.
What’s beautiful about each song is that they all begin with a distinct difference: one may start off heavy on the guitar, like “Nerve Endings,” while “Soulless Youth” takes on a monotonous one-chord strumming that only grows during the first minute as different musical pieces are added. “Opaque” has a faintly futuristic quality about its opening while “Footsteps” begins with a quickened bass progression.
The Eagulls will be attending SXSW in Austin, Texas, but if you don’t live in that area then fear not – the band announced on March 5, 2014 the dates for a tour of the United States in order to promote their self-titled album.
Photo By Ricky Adam