Eagulls - Ullages

by Jeff Penczak Rating:9 Release Date:2016-05-15

Oh, boy, here we go again: unpronounceable, band name (possibly even worse, a misspelled pun) releasing an unpronounceable album that looks suspiciously like an anagram of their name. When I was growing up and was enthralled with rock 'n' rollers, I imagined anyone who got into the cutthroat business did so for fame, fortune, and the chicks, or, as the late Ian Dury succinctly captured it: sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll. But these days I see too many acts releasing albums with titles that no one will possibly remember when they head for their local record shop or download service. Which is a shame, because this Leeds quintet’s sophomore full-length finds them successfully mining the same atmospheric post-punk with gothic overtones that kept The Cure at the forefront of British rock at the turn of the (80s) decade.

'Heads or Tails’ could easily have sat on any of 'the suicide trilogy' (ie, Seventeen Seconds, Faith, Pornography), what with George Mitchell’s spot-on Robert Smith wailing/whining vocals serpentining around an ominous rhythm section and crystalline guitar lines. ‘Euphoria’ is even better, an emotionally melodic plea that would’ve been perfect for the Japanese Whispers compilation.

‘Velvet’ is another catchy candidate for “single” status, ‘Skipping’ reminds of some of Smith’s more adventurous concoctions (‘Just One Kiss, ‘Charlotte Sometimes’, ‘Push’), ‘Lemontrees’ mirrors Simon Gallup’s underrated, exceedingly melodic bass lines, and the dreamy 'White Lie Lullabies' brings the tribute, er, album to a satisfyingly stunning conclusion.

So if you were always a Cure fan, but felt they abandoned their roots (and fans) when Smith lost some of his edgy gloom and doom (read: Gothic) for the decidedly more atmospheric, ambient (and some might well argue, more mature) territories of Disintegration and Wish, then this is the album for you. Just slap it on, sit back, and pretend The Cure disbanded after The Head on the Door. Your biggest challenge will be to decide for yourself whether this is a fawning, fanboy tribute, or blatant ripoff! Maybe that album title (if pronounced "Eulogies") actually makes sense after all!

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