Taking on the post-punk influences that catapulted Savages to widespread critical acclaim and commercial success with 2013’s Shut Up, the Leeds five-piece look set to ride the wave of the ‘return of guitar music’ in 2014. This seeming ‘return’ has been long-awaited and has almost become pop’s oldest tradition with a new saviour being offered up every other fortnight by the excitable press. But what’s so different about this lot?
First of all, hard graft – this is the group’s first LP proper and, having formed in 2010, they’ve had a tough struggle to get here, with a few axes to grind as a result. In an open letter last year they attacked surf-pop nostalgics, posh kids and women in bands. They’re obviously not going to be to everyone’s taste but that’s exactly what the record industry needs right now. Unlike Savages, or Haim, or even the Arctic Monkeys, Eagulls definitely don’t do compromises when it comes to guitar rock. Lets be honest, frontman George Mitchell ain’t no chorister. In their recent performance on David Letterman, the band thrashed their way through ‘Possessed’ in a way that would make even the most liberal of grannies ask “what’s that racket!?” Letterman looked stunned, responding with a feeble ‘yeah buddy’ and probably questioning whatever went wrong after Hotel California.
Maybe Eagulls could be more appropriately labelled ‘retrospective-punk’ than ‘post-punk’ with both the musical character of their tracks, and their lyrical content, becoming reminiscent of the grimy charm of Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks. Having also edged into the American market, The Clash seem a good comparison. Having ‘trod the boards’ for the last four years, their musical talent seems to match up. They’re rough tracks about sleeping on floors and council estates, and yet they seem more ‘real’ than their modern, guitar-playing counterparts, with fewer hooks and more determined grit. Their first single ‘Nerve Endings’ won a NME award last week for best video. It also resulted in a visit from the police whilst filming; a perfect snapshot of the bands output. Happy to continue careering along, they come from an age without such intervention, with a voice that needs to be heard and some edgy grit that’ll no doubt get them there.