Sunday 29 May 2016

Review of 'Ullages' by Eagulls

Go into this record expecting Cure-worship and you’ll come out happy.

Go in expecting a little more like myself and you may feel a little underwhelmed. Stripping away the hardcore punk edge of their debut, Leeds rock band go all out in reviving 80s-Goth-rock complete with yelped vocals and reverb-slathered twangy guitars. They do a great job at imitating their idols and it’s a shedload of fun for a few tracks until you realise Eagulls aren’t really doing anything that novel.

Consequently, Ullages gets samey fast. The detuned guitar madness making up instrumental track ‘Harpstrings’ briefly spices things up, but then ‘Psalms’ and ‘Blume’ trundle along sounding like Cure B-sides, as if the band felt they have to balance out their experimentation with blandness.

I had to check what the band looked like in case they weren't just The Cure in disguise

Thankfully, the second half does boast a few more exciting moments, ‘Skipping’ incorporating an intense pulsing bass riff and some creative phasered hi-hats, ‘Aisles’ throwing in some marching band snare rolls contrasted by walls of echoey guitar. It’s in this half we also get ‘Lemontrees’, which is still Cure-worship, but makes up for it by sporting the album's catchiest chorus along with some badass tribal percussion.

It's tunes like this that make me think an entire retro record could have worked if there were simply more singalong anthems. Instead Ullages only offers fleeting thrills, serving more as a pleasing nostalgia-trip, pleasant but predictable.