Eagulls – Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam – Hare & Hounds Birmingham – 17th May 2016
With the release of their second album Eagulls are touring the UK, Fighting Boredom’s Adrian Bloxham and Martin Ward caught up with them and the wonderful Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam in Birmingham and were impressed to say the least.
The Hare and Hounds is a big old pub, to get to the gig you have to climb the most dangerous stairs I’ve seen outside of a ruined castle, traverse a dark corridor and enter the black velvet lined room full of strange men and women that seem to be drawn to events by This is Tmrw, any of which are well worth attending in my experience.
We catch the last two bands tonight, Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam are tuning up as we arrive, they shuffle back on stage and with a bad rumble of bass and burst of feedback they are off. SFL play loud, dirty, punky, poppy music with an edge. They hit a groove and go with it, jumping around, bending double over their guitars and just moving to the beat. I’ve seen them before but never better than tonight. Then they stop, silence. Something’s broken. They laugh and attempt a sing along as they try and fix stuff. They don’t get angry, they don’t lose it, they just try and make it work until plugging stuff into something else lets them play.
Strangely after that point the lights just seem to be rows of bulbs behind them, blinding and they become all but silhouettes, again they laugh this off and just get on with the job of providing wonderfully emotive guitar music. I can’t tell you who they sound like because they sound like Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam. The two vocalists, Andrew and Pete, spar off each other. Andrew has the clearer higher voice but Pete’s is emotive and rich, when they both sing it’s just perfect.
The songs have the anger and dispossessed feel of youth, there’s a hard core inside the sound but that’s countered and made better by the pop hooks running throughout. They play a new song bleeding with spit and fury and then slow it all down with tribal drums, an unrelenting bass groove and a scraping jarring guitar noise.
The self-deprecation of the band ends with them telling us not to buy their first record ‘It’s not great’ and ending with a ferocious slice of raw power from it. They are post-punk, post-indie, post everything except Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam.
Eagulls are an altogether different beast, they look normal, just people on stage. There are no frills so you just concentrate on the music, deep, hollow repetitive drums spell out a sombre sound and as a silent film plays behind them Eagulls pull us in. The singer looks frail, he hangs onto the mic stand as if to anchor himself to the stage and the voice is right on the edge, flawed and high but just right for the darkness of the songs. The sound is big, bleak and somehow hollow that gets you.
There are echoes of the outer edge of the eighties, imagine Joy Division, Siouxsie and the Banshees and the Cure standing young and fresh on the edge of a massive concrete estate. It’s a very British sound. The vocalist lets go of the mic stand and suddenly he’s commanding the stage, the band are at the back lost on what they do as his reptilian dance draws your eye. The songs off their new album are less immediate than the older tunes but it’s a step forward for the band, moving everything on.
Eagulls are hard-edged and compelling as the last song plays you realise that you will be here again dancing in the darkness as they play on.
All words by Adrian Bloxham, all pictures by Martin Ward.