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2:54 [Album Review]

The debut album from sisters Colette and Hannah Thurlow has a milder feel than the live shows, the punch and rawness extracted to leave a more mellow sound.

Since the beginning of 2012 2:54 have been hailed as one of the most promising breakthrough acts, their first official release 'On A Wire', gained much recognition and they have already been touring with the likes of Warpaint, Wild Beasts, Melissa auf der Mar and the Big Pink.  The 2:54 album tracks are produced by Rob Ellis (PJ Harvey) and mixed by Alan Mouler (Smashing Pumpkins, My Bloody Valentine). 

Having experienced 2:54 at a live show earlier this year The Queen of Hoxton, the dark, atmospheric beats and echoing vocals of Hannah and Colette were captivating.  What was fierce, embracing, beautiful, and dark whilst live though, appears to have faded and become watered down in the recording process. We are left with slurred lyrics and hushed tones which are somehow less raw, less enticing. It may be that they are striving for something relaxing and possibly even uplifting, rather than the beguiling and unsettling energy of the live set.

'You're Early', doesn’t sound as dangerous or raucous as remembered, the longing and passion limited to a specified range.'I just wanna be..' now sounds less concerned – still caring, but no longer heart-rending and demanding.   It feels like the indie goth rawness and expression have been erased, the growl gone, left with a timid and lightly subdued version. 

The raw honesty of the sound still stands

'Scarlet', still packs a punch though, with rolling guitars and vocals. The raw honesty of the sound still stands, although the edginess is slightly tamed and the sludginess is more of a debauched slur. The mystery, darkness and glowing echoes of the female mind are watered down, not as sultry and enticing now as on the original single.

The atmospheric struggle and tension in 'Creeping' is restrained too, all the fierce passion and pouting dispersed. The album is lacking in danger, those echoes of darker days are gone, and it misses some of the creativity, mystery and enigma of the singles so far. The production favours smoother, subtler tones, with the consequence that the songs have lost their earlier ferocity of variation, texture and atmosphere. 

The darkness and angst that gave their sound an epic feel is suppressed, all held in balance a bit too rigidly.  Conservative production values mean the vibe has gone from resembling the raw energy of Siouxsie Sioux, to the poppier Duran Duran, or a female-fronted Spandau Ballet. Still valid, but not quite the same somehow.

Out now.


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