The frontman of Echo and the Bunnymen, McCulloch (along with guitarist Will Sargent) helped master the claustrophobic, shadowy sounds that defined the British bands that blossomed under the morose tenure of Margaret Thatcher. Not as unrelentingly bleak as Joy Division and not as heart-on-sleeve as the Smiths, the Bunnymen were perfect conduits for frustrated English folks who couldn’t express the troubles in their brain.
The band’s followers, like British Sea Power, Suede and the Clientele, mostly hail from the UK, but Echo and the Bunnymen’s imprint was also evident in the moody, post-punk sounds that swept through New York in the early 2000s, crystallizing most faithfully in Interpol.
The latest followers of the Echo and Bunnymen blueprint are Eagulls, a stern five-piece rock outfit from Leeds. Like McCulloch, Eagulls frontman George Mitchell makes no effort to disguise his British accent, as he doles on about his many daily insecurities (taking a page out of ol’ Moz’s book right there.) The band’s pummeling rhythm section give the Eagulls sound a suffocating, dense feeling, as if the roof is collapsing in on the listener.
The end result leaves a powerful imprint, which is best experienced in a live setting. Like their UK sister band, Savages, the Eagulls spare no quarter during their performances, and Saturday’s tilt at Bottom of the Hill should be no different. Currently touring behind their excellent new album Ullages (hey, it’s an anagram!), the Eagulls will get supporting help from local acts GRMLN and Fake Your Own Death on Saturday night.