Branded by critics as post-punk and dripping with nearly every influence of the genre one can think of, the Leeds-based Eagulls brought their self-proclaimed ‘contemporary rock’ sound to the Oxford Art Factory last Friday night as one of their two Australian Laneway sideshows.

Local lads Weak Boys opened the night with a shabby but musically tight set. With band members Matt Banham and Chris Yates wearing respective ‘Weekend at Donny’s’ and Summer Flake T-shirts, the Boys displayed pretty much everything right with local Australian music at the moment with crunchy guitars, quality banter and lyrics steeped in modern Australiana.

On the other side of the slightly disjointed but equally awesome lineup was a continued onslaught of great local music. Sparse and angular, led by a clawing guitar and anchored by austere synths and regimented percussion, Mere Women wove their abrasive sounds together to create something colourful and danceable.

Eagulls were something else. Opening with ‘Tough Luck’, their set was charged with energy right from the get-go. Heavy and loud, they arced and bled through a ten-song set with blistering intensity that had the kick drum beating at your chest.

Lead singer George Mitchell was an entrancing sight as he snaked around the microphone stand, belting out vocals reminiscent of Robert Smith, albeit with a little Joe Strummer bark thrown in. Spurred on by the bleakness of modern life, depravity is present within their very sound. But far from feeling sorry for themselves, Eagulls present their dreary, dead-end world in a way that is deadpan and straightforward, rather than self-deprecating.

As the set came rounding to an end with crowd favourite ‘Possessed’, no one was disappointed. Beer was splashed as the frenzied onlookers thrashed about to the swirling, anthemic racket. Despite this, there was no denying an atmospheric, melodic core buried beneath the droning noise. Eagulls’ sound is affecting and deep; rolling basslines and gunfire drums flanked by rattling guitars, all shining with an 80s New Wave glean. The Joy Division presence is also clear, but doesn’t allow Eagulls to be reduced to their influences. Their sound is visceral, charging and entirely their own.


For fans of: The Cure, Iceage, Drenge.


Feature Image via AltPress