★★★ (out of 5 stars)
Eagulls sounds like it was recorded in a decaying reverb chamber. But the scruffy fidelity of this Leeds quintet’s debut only adds to its bristling urgency. Part grungy post-punk masterpiece, part searing guitar-pop manifesto and part homage to the U.K.’s gloomy New Wave heyday, this debut album cements Eagulls’ place next to other English bands like Savages currently turning loud, heavy indie rock on its head. Darkness abounds on Eagulls – see song titles like “Hollow Visions,” “Yellow Eyes,” “Fester/Blister,” “Amber Veins” and “Soulless Youth.” Incessantly propulsive bass and drums drive the 10-song record forward, while shards of trebly guitars crash in from all angles and lead singer George Mitchell yowls and yelps about the depravities of modern life. Eagulls barely let off of the gas for 38 minutes – even though uneasy waves of melody wash throughout the album, the ninth song, “Opaque,” is the only one that lets a little light in. But that coarse methodology, perfectly encapsulated on the snarling “Footsteps,” is what makes this debut so enthralling.