Friday, May 20, 2016
Eagulls : "Ullages"
The Sophomore effort by the British Post-punk band finds them maturing into a more melodic sound. Their debut had more of a punk energy to it and "Ullages" embraces lush textures of guitar and sharpened sense of song writing that brings a greater emotional depth to the table. The punk in the post-punk equation is taking a back seat much like it would as fellow Brits the Cure would. The bass does hold a pulse in songs like "Velvet", but the guitar is not playing second fiddle or content just banging out a static guitar line. It does lay down a more prominent role in "Euphoria" to give the sort of grooving drive that typifies post-punk.The vocals are no longer just shouted and while they are delivered with the most careful croon, their placement was give much more thought to create a wider sense of melody reflected in the album as a whole. Lyrically there is less angst and more contemplation. Acknowledging themes like how we try to escape from ourselves.
Never really dancey the slow careful groove of "Psalms" really works to bring out the best of the vocals. Though the tasteful guitar tones are impressive, the band's strength is how they bring out the best in one another and really work these songs as cohesive unit with much greater focus. There is an upbeat pop sense to the skip in the step of "Blume". They return to a darker mood with"Skipping". The drums and the bass pound the gloomy drone home, before swinging into something for your head to move to. The pulsations keep a similar velocity on "Lemontrees". The album begins to develop a drive similar to a less aggressive version of "Fascination Street". The guitar tones darken things more than the punkish vocal, that to it's credit does more for the songs than if they were pulling another Ian Curtis tribute. The guitar arrangements thoughtfully dominate the songs in a good way.
The shoe gaze term gets thrown around in regards to this band and it seems largely unfounded until you get to dreamy guitar on "Aisles". This song is off set by the marching drum and keeps you from really floating away with it. This more surreal side of the band is further delved into with "White Lie Lullabies", but this time they remain grounded with the thump of the bass line and the verse's very refined vocal melody . Overall it doesn't pack the punk punch of their first album, but the songs are well written and they have matured into something with what sounds to be more staying power to my ears. I'll more than likely round it up to a 10 , but as it grows on me will play it safe and say it's a 9.5 for now, but won't take much for me to round it up.