Pitchfork (Website) - "The band's marauding gusto and shoegaze overdrive has been replaced by patient builds, soft-focus interstitials and a dream-pop shimmer..."
Clash (magazine) - "ULLAGES is not a nostalgic album. Quite the opposite. It's a record with its eyes firmly to the future; the future of the band, and the future of the city that spawned them."
Personnel: Liam Matthews, Mark Goldsworthy (guitar); Henry Ruddell (drums).
Audio Mixer: Craig Silvey.
Photographer: Peter Mitchell .
Eagulls' self-titled debut earned acclaim for the way the band blurred its punk edges with shoegaze-sized walls of sound. This fondness for atmosphere was the only hint of the radical makeover they undertake on Ullages, an anagram of the band's name that doubles as an alter ego: if Eagulls was indebted to the gritty side of post-punk, then this is the glossy, but just as gloomy, flip side. Though Eagulls were specifically inspired by the Cocteau Twins while making the album, Ullages' sonic cathedrals -- which were recorded in a converted Catholic church, natch -- evoke a host of dourly beautiful bands. "Blume"'s psychedelic leanings recall the Horrors and Echo & the Bunnymen before them, while the album's ringing riffs and George Mitchell's impassioned delivery often suggest early Simple Minds. However, Ullages' most obvious reference point is Pornography-era Cure. Stripped of Eagulls' fury, Mitchell's yelp sounds more like Robert Smith than ever, especially when it's surrounded by crystalline synths and glassy guitars on songs like "Heads or Tails" and "My Life in Rewind," one of the most captivating examples of how Eagulls turned their debut's explosive power inward. There's no denying Ullages is well crafted; the woozy interlude "Harpstrings" and glistening tracks like "Velvet" and "White Lie Lullabies" make the most of the album's darkly glamorous palette, but Ullages often feels most convincing when the band injects a little of its old energy into its new approach. "Lemontrees" adds some bite to the album's sparkle, while "Euphoria"'s melodrama is matched by its powerful drums and "Skipping" harnesses some of Eagulls' anger. ~ Heather Phares