Eagulls: the future of post-hardcore?
“All our band practices, everything we do, we record on a boombox tape recorder.” Eagulls singer George Mitchell drawls like a northern John Wayne, hovering over each word for what seems like an eternity before pouncing.
It’s a favourite pastime of indie bands to prattle on about their detachment from supposedly unworthy contemporaries, but it’s clear from the off that Eagulls are no fools. Hailing from far, wide and beyond, the five-piece currently dwells in a communal roost in Leeds – close enough that they can “throw stones at each others’ houses”.
This tight-knit musical environment deftly sums up the band’s diligent attitude towards local scene-making. Before getting in promoters’ good books, Eagulls would curate shows of their own, inviting mates’ bands to play any scummy dive that would have them. But, alas, a handful of scurrilous punks and a rack of busted practice amps does not a movement make.Yet as friends fell by the wayside Eagulls ploughed nobly on, building a pluming head of steam.
Quick to extol the praises of nu-slackers such as Yuck, Mazes and a low-rent Leeds outfit by the name of Hookworms, you might mistake them for another bunch of scuzzy indie no-hopers. Mistake being the operative word…“It’s more edgy than indie,” insists George, defiantly. “But we’ve been compared to fucking… everything under the sun. Like fucking, The Cribs… Oasis. Fucking everything! That’s just… not what we are.” Baffling comparisons aside, Eagulls’ sold-out debut EP ‘Songs Of Prey’ would be turning heads regardless of the band’s aesthetic.
Its three roughshod gems are a blast of gruff, fuzzed-out melodic vocals and lacerating Dinosaur Jr-style riffery, wholly unbecoming of their elegant avian moniker. Sticking stubbornly to their DIY guns, the band self-recorded ‘Songs Of Prey’ on crummy cassette tape and sold it for tuppence at gigs.
“It seems right to put a cassette out, because that’s how we make it,” drummer Henry explains. “It’s not like we did it for the whole retro vibe – it’s just ’cos it’s easy to do and nice to put something different out.” By happy accident, this is the perfect social climate for Eagulls to have hit their glide, and they may be just the perfect band to ruffle up indie’s feathers a bit.
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• They didn’t start out busking ‘Hotel California’ – the band’s name came from a drunk guy singing karaoke at a holiday camp. Hilarity ensued after he mistook the lyrics of Shaggy’s ‘Angel’ for “girl you’re my eagle”
• Bassist Tom Kelly’s dad is a trench-coat-sporting goth, who quit his job to design manga, leaving the family in “loads of debt”
• George’s real name is Aaron. His dad used to assign him nicknames and George is the one that stuck
This article originally appeared in the April 30th issue of NME