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Eagulls’ “Tough Luck” blends the ferocious with the melodic

In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing. This week, in anticipation of our great SXSW party on Friday, we’re highlighting tracks from some of the artists playing the show.

Our 2013 SXSW party was a murderer’s row of great bands, but none melted my brain quite like Metz, whose ferocious afternoon set was a tough act for anyone to follow. Fittingly, this year we have a band that reminds me of Metz, Eagulls. The Leeds group favors a more melodic, airier version of post-hardcore, but the burned-out car sitting in a housing project on the cover of the band’s debut is indicative of what lies within.

“Tough Luck” rides the line well. One of the most melodic songs on the album, it opens with a clean guitar lead and bright-sounding chords. But singer George Mitchell’s vocals add an edge, his voice not quite singing, not quite shouting. Over the riff-heavy chorus he practically barks, “Tough luck! Tough luck! Tough luck!” But compared to songs like “Fester Blister” or “Soulless Youth,” “Tough Luck” sounds almost poppy.

Eagulls is one of those albums that, although great, sounds a little removed from the band’s live set. The reverb that hangs over just about everything gives the songs a bit of a distance, which is why it will be so great to hear them right in front of my face on Friday. Eagulls serves as a representative of what the band does, but I suspect what we’ll see on stage will be another matter.