Leeds local boys Eagulls are back again with the follow-up to their full-throttle 2014 debut album, this time not self-titled, but not far off. Second time round, they use an anagram of their name-‘Ullages’ for an album which will look to expand on the driving, reverberating rock of ‘Eagulls’, the record at the forefront of the exploding Leeds DIY scene. Another Friday 13th release, lets see if ‘Ullages’ can match the success of Yak’s debut,‘Alas Salvation’.
‘Eagulls’ was packed full of live songs; songs to jump around to while covered in blood, sweat and what you hope is beer; songs to remember. While ‘Ullages’ does not contain such a catalogue of songs with these qualities, it is perhaps not a bad thing. ‘Ullages’ is without doubt a development of the same sound; the natural next step for the band to take. Eagulls’ first album was a release of pent-up angst; telling almost exclusively of the struggles of life as the band see it. ‘Ullages’ moves on from this, focusing on the ‘euphoric dreams’ of breaking free from such grievances. It does not take a great stretch of the imagination to think of ‘Ullages’ being released 30 or so years earlier on Factory Records or one of the other first independent record labels. It is undoubtedly cast from the same mould as the first English post punk, and brings the same connotations into the modern world. For those in need of echoing riffs of the like seen in their back catalogue, ‘Skipping’ is there to cater for you. With driving drum-rhythms and the constant humming of the bass, it is easy to see how ‘Skipping’ could become the signature piece of the whole album, and it will slot neatly into Eagulls’ live show. However, ‘Lemontrees’ is a highlight for me, a more fitting tribute to the new incarnation of the band, that strange mix of the melancholy and upbeat which is most commonly associated with the likes of The Smiths.
It is tracks such as ‘Lemontrees’ which make this music relevant, and not just a regurgitation of the first album, or of the countless post punk works which have been seen in the past. It is the inconsistency of Eagulls’ work so far that will prevent them from fading into the background of mediocrity, and will undoubtedly see their fan base increase. This band are one step away from perfecting their sound; if they can pick out the greatest moments from both their existing works, then album number three will surely be one to be remember. Eagulls are one of the most promising acts of the moment, their potential just needs to be converted into the kinetic energy needed to carry them onwards and upwards, and hopefully they can take the often forgotten Leeds music scene with them.