Eagulls’ vocal ace, George Mitchell, sings of the occasional monstrosity of love on “Velvet,” letting us know about a decidedly grotesque little man by the name of Cupid. Here, we have Mitchell’s official deposition:
“Found out that someone has broken his arms/ Fell down and tore up the strings on his harp/ When he fell from Venus to us/ He landed in our reprobate arms, and he’s deceiving/ Sealing up the world to our hearts to watch us stay alone.”
“Velvet” is the color of despair (or texture of Beach House’s 2015 LP, Depression Cherry), as evidenced by these first few words from Mitchell. Let the record show: Cupid is a crook. He is not your friend, and he just might be the yoke around your neck for years to come.
An anagram of the rock outfit’s name, Ullages is a departure from Eagulls’ self-titled debut. What’s more, Ullages was an alternate name for the post-punk crew, who seemed to have put their clothes through the wash and tidied up a bit for this new record. When measured back to back, “Possessed” (from Eagulls) and “Velvet” look like younger (grittier, hazier) and older (cleaner, glossier, flossier) respective brothers. The youngest might scoff and act aloof, while the eldest might say something like, “God bless us, Eagulls. Look at what we’ve done today.”
The percussive bits on “Velvet” chew through the elements, creating a spacious little pocket in your chest (turning out to be the perfect target for Cupid to sink one of his small dusty arrows). The cowboy-tinkered drums have a standoff with the foolhardy bass, moving through you like hot liquid. Dyno guitar-man, Mark Goldsworthy, emerges and peaks, crossing the bass and drums with blissful upstrokes and wily counter-melodies to match a bewailing Mitchell. The result is religious.
Mitchell’s voice feels increasingly present, intelligible and stand-alone on Ullages. “Velvet” might just be the MVP. Surely, it’s the slickest track in the line-up. In “Velvet” lives an air of vulnerability that Eagulls seem to breathe day and night, leaving us with a promising band of brothers from Leeds with good blood pressure and big, sharp teeth.