Bbc - Music - Review Of 2:54
It would be easy to dismiss 2:54 solely on their hype. The east London-based sisters dress in dark leather, refrain from smiling in photos, and often find themselves mentioned in the same breath as The xx. But look past the image to concentrate on the music and you’ll find a record of endearing and warmly intimate songs.
Originally from Ireland but growing up in Bristol, sisters Hannah and Colette Thurlow spent their youth travelling back across the channel for family holidays. It’s the stark imagery of the Irish coast and countryside that informs and shapes the music on this self-titled debut, dark and expansive with a serene beauty.
Album opener Revolving crashes waves of sultry guitar across a steady and glistening beat, Colette’s vocal weaving the tapestry together. It leads straight into previous single You’re Early, a track which builds and falls with elegance and yearning. At times it feels a little like eavesdropping on a whispered diary entry.
Later, A Salute is all Tears for Fears atmospherics with a hint of Garbage; while the spotlight-stealing Scarlet is PJ Harvey at her most destructive, complete with a Belly-blessed chorus.
The only criticism of this record is its overall pace. The songs grow and swell within themselves, but across these 10 tracks there is little variation from the chosen mould. That’s not to say there isn’t aggression or energy on show, it’s just displayed subtly and in the sisters’ own awkwardly inimitable way.
But this isn’t a record for the dance floor; it’s for two sisters, both writing from separate bedrooms, an honest and personal album that deserves time and attention. There’s no way the Thurlows could have predicted the reaction they’d receive to putting a demo of Creeping online just a couple of years ago – and its placement here as the closer feels symbolic, a bookmark at the end of their first chapter as a band.
2:54 have delivered a collection of deeply mature and addictive tracks. In avoiding their own hype they have created something almost naively unaffected, and purely affecting.