Words and photos by Wes Foster
Following becoming one of Britain’s most highly tipped post-punk band, Eagulls have returned with a tour of smaller venues – gracing Salford’s lovely ramshackle Islington Mill for the night.
As ever with a band downsizing to smaller and arguably nicer venues, it drags in a less than perfect crowd, half of whom less there for the wider repertoire of music than because they’ve heard some of the better known songs somewhere. This unfortunately acted as cold water over what could have been a great set from support band Fear Of Men. Their album, Loom, is an absolute stunner, simple indie pop that’s beautifully written. Although it was captivating to the first few rows, the din from the bastards at the back couldn’t be competed with. As much as the lead singer captivates the eyes, she seemed much more at home with a guitar than without.
It seemed an odd coupling when I first read they were supporting Eagulls, but it works very well. Their lightness of touch perfectly lines up Eagulls’ slightly heavier and rougher offerings. Eagulls’ new stuff is especially interesting. It crosses over from being the heftier classic guitar-driven punk feel to becoming more than that, a soundscape rather than simply a track.
I’ll admit I’ve never been overwhelmed by Eagulls – I find them to be a little soft for what they’re seen as by the press and a portion of their audience. Their lyrics aren’t particularly challenging, so in part they feel like new romantics with bass. There is more than something there though. Their live performances are completely captivating, primarily due to the wall of sound and darkness, but also Mitchell’s crooning vocals and absolute control of the audience. They’re on the cusp of something interesting and it looks like their second album is one to watch.