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Ullages

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Album Review

Eagulls' self-titled debut earned acclaim for the way the band blurred its punk edges with shoegaze-sized walls of sound. This fondness for atmosphere was the only hint of the radical makeover they undertake on Ullages, an anagram of the band's name that doubles as an alter ego: if Eagulls was indebted to the gritty side of post-punk, then this is the glossy, but just as gloomy, flip side. Though Eagulls were specifically inspired by the Cocteau Twins while making the album, Ullages' sonic cathedrals — which were recorded in a converted Catholic church, natch — evoke a host of dourly beautiful bands. "Blume"'s psychedelic leanings recall the Horrors and Echo & the Bunnymen before them, while the album's ringing riffs and George Mitchell's impassioned delivery often suggest early Simple Minds. However, Ullages' most obvious reference point is Pornography-era Cure. Stripped of Eagulls' fury, Mitchell's yelp sounds more like Robert Smith than ever, especially when it's surrounded by crystalline synths and glassy guitars on songs like "Heads or Tails" and "My Life in Rewind," one of the most captivating examples of how Eagulls turned their debut's explosive power inward. There's no denying Ullages is well crafted; the woozy interlude "Harpstrings" and glistening tracks like "Velvet" and "White Lie Lullabies" make the most of the album's darkly glamorous palette, but Ullages often feels most convincing when the band injects a little of its old energy into its new approach. "Lemontrees" adds some bite to the album's sparkle, while "Euphoria"'s melodrama is matched by its powerful drums and "Skipping" harnesses some of Eagulls' anger.

Customer Reviews

What?

It's the best album of 2016.

But you already knew that.

They love Robert Smith

So Cure-ish that it hurts. In a good way.

Biography

Formed: 2010 in Leeds, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '10s

Beginning as a swaggering, punk-inspired outfit, Leeds' Eagulls were formed in 2010 by guitarist Mark Goldsworthy and drummer Henry Ruddel. The lineup was completed shortly thereafter with the addition of bassist Tom Kelly and second guitarist Liam Matthews; the final piece of the puzzle was the distinct vocals of George Mitchell. They moved rapidly through the Leeds music scene, winning plaudits and fans with their unapologetic, chaotic brand of guitar-driven music, and in early 2011 they released...
Full Bio
Ullages, Eagulls
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