The interestingly named 2:54 (“two-fifty-four”) are a London-based alternative rock band fronted by Irish-born sisters Hannah and Colette Thurlow. Citing all the rock greats in their influences, their sound is strong and gloomy, with lyrics of the same vein.
Their self-titled debut was the subject of many “one to watch” lists back in 2012, and their second album, “The Other I”, is due to be released this November under Bella Union, an indie label to which they recently signed following a number of other affiliations.
Overall, 2:54’s album is a grungy, poetic and interesting work. The vocals are not flawless, but they are expressive, and they are true sister voices, that melt into rough-edged harmonies. I have to admit I’m a sucker for a strong female-led alt-rock band, but girl power is not all the album has going for it.
The tracks have a kind of familiarity about them, a number of times I found myself wondering where I had heard a song before, but it’s just that déjà-vu quality that some bands manage to invoke.
The composition of the album itself is elegant, starting off with the winning “Orion,” (also the first single from the album), with a strong and definite beat to catch your attention. The tracks then unfold until the haunting echoes of “Tender Shoots”, which acts as an interval of the record. The second half of 2:54’s The Other I is dark and insistent, ending on the inventive “Raptor.”
I will admit there were a couple of tracks that came across as filler, enjoyable to listen to but not particularly remarkable. However I did get the impression that the band is not writing a crowd-pleasing album, they’re writing whatever they like, and I love that.
Personally a couple of tracks stood out, and I could take or leave the rest. “Orion”, wisely chosen as the debut single, had me excited for the album, which is all you could want from a first track. The rebellious “Blindfold” told me I was right to be excited (also my favourite track, I think), and “No Better Prize” is a wandering piece full of great riffs. I love the confident beat of “Pyro”, and I love the coda that is “Raptor.”
It’s a solid alternative-rock album. It won’t take the charts by storm but it is absolutely an album to try out, and I’ll bet a band to watch.