2:54 - 2:54
Wed 11th Apr, 2012 in Music Reviews
2:54 are London-based sister duo Hannah and Colette Thurlow. Their brand of moody art-rock has led them to become one of the many breakout UK bands of recent years, touring with the likes of Warpaint and The Big Pink. Their hypnotic and melancholic sound has now come full circle with the creation of their debut self-titled LP. Produced by Rob Ellis (PJ Harvey, Anna Calvi), and mixed by Alan Moulder (Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins), a certain degree of expectation naturally accompanies this album’s release.
Opening track Revolving sees the band quickly establish their atmospheric and ghostly tone – qualities which carry both musically and lyrically throughout the entire album. Elegantly eerie vocals reminiscent of PJ Harvey lead into a heavy final section – a section drenched in a heavily melancholic post-rock intensity. You’re Early then reinforces the emotionally heavy aesthetic, repeating “I just wanna feel close” in a startlingly graceful passion. The shimmering guitars of A Salute clash with an almost tribalistic percussion section. “Dancing in circles / Repeating this dance” is recited in a sinister tone, creating a strange yet entrancing atmosphere.
Scarlet, one of the standout tracks on the album, possesses a graceful Queens of the Stone Age style guitar hook. It’s clear that the band have drawn much from their influences, yet have also added their own unique spookiness to every dimension of the album. Scarlet is also where the band affirm their vocal and lyrical prowess, with ghostly drawn-out lyrics such as “”You put the beat in my bones / It’s all I hear in my head / You make it easy to see – It’s love”, adding brilliantly to the emotional weight and overall tension of the LP.
The dance rhythms of Sugar resemble a somewhat darker incarnation of early Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Carried by fuzz laden guitars, it maintains a balance between pop and punk to become one of the more thematically optimistic tracks on the album. Another obvious highlight is Circuitry, an entrancing concoction of swirling shoegaze tones and dreamy vocals. Its unassuming nature abruptly changes to reveal a chaotic wall of sound, and a swagger and atmosphere not seen in detail anywhere else on the album.
2:54 have created a well positioned debut album – it both establishes their sound and suggests ways in which they will continue to move this sound forward. Despite the album losing some of its momentum towards the end, the band’s moody pop elegance has been captured terrifically well throughout. There is a dark subtlety in their expression, which is at times truly captivating.