Gnarly, combative and full of vim, this first album by Leeds-based five-piece Eagulls makes for uneasy listening.
The band – George Mitchell, Mark Goldsworthy, Liam Matthews, Tom Kelly and Henry Ruddell takes their cues from the post-punk and hardcore scene of the 1980s – there’s certainly some of the oppressiveness of Killing Joke here, not to mention similarly dark and cavernous bass lines – but the intensity and provocativeness is all their own.
As singer George Mitchell told the Yorkshire Evening Post late last year: “We really want to make music that makes people think and expresses real feelings. We are not into just copying and pasting someone else’s ideas – we want to make stuff that means something when they listen to it.”
Thus Nerve Endings is about Mitchell’s own battles with anxiety and Tough Luck is based on the singer’s own childhood fascincation with his grandfather’s webbed feet – a condition caused, he later discovered, by the drug Thalidomide which his grandfather’s mother was prescribed for morning sickness during pregnancy.
Don’t expect to be cheered up by this album – it’s not that kind of record – but Eagulls are undoubtedly one of the most important bands in Leeds at the moment – and their profile is rising. The band recently performed on The Late Show with David Letterman in the USA and support Franz Ferdinand at the O2 Academy Leeds on March 26 and the Manic Street Preachers at the First Direct Arena, Leeds on March 28.