Hype, much like the untamed reaches of Doolin Point, can be harsh and unforgiving territory. Yet depicted on the cover of 2:54’s debut, two figures stand unwavering amongst it. Indeed, this is an apt portrayal of sisters Colette and Hannah Thurlow, who in the past year have displayed a rare steadfastness towards the buzz that surrounds them. It also acts as an early indication of their sonic palette – one that firmly roots itself in the abrasive guitar drones and throbbing bass lines that recall the 90s alternative sounds of The Pixies as well as early shoegazers Curve.
It is unashamedly pronounced on tracks such as Circuitry, where jarring guitar parts rumble and expand until a marching drum signals an utterly overwhelming onslaught of noise. Lead single and standout track You’re Early sees the band at their most streamlined, its shimmering guitars more economically considered as a sinister bass festers under the surface. 2:54is bursting with these moments: seductively macabre, just enough so to sidestep clichés of theatricality while still provoking genuine intrigue. Producer Rob Ellis is largely responsible for this atmosphere, giving guitars a cold, metallic sheen. Even the album’s noisiest moments feel controlled, resulting in a spaciousness that is wholly enticing.
Despite their stylistic debt to shoegaze production values, what serves to 2:54’s advantage is the emotive range of Colette’s vocals – a departure from the well-worn hazy blueprint of old. In Easy Undercover there’s a marked desperation in Colette’s voice that intensifies with every repetition of the line “if you go, you’ll never know”. Meanwhile, the sultrily delivered verses of Sugar are punctuated by a powerful grunt that remains decidedly feminine. Most effective though is the otherworldly chanting towards the end of opener Revolving that seems to command a wave of guitars to rise and crash around her, a technique also adopted in Circuitry.
2:54 may not present anything particularly innovative, however there’s something to be said for the Thurlow sisters’ understanding of the songwriting process: a key factor separating them from more inventive acts who under-deliver on account of their desire to run before they can walk. Above all else, 2:54 is a sleek record and a testament to the confidence that Hannah and Colette have in their sonic trajectory. Mature and self-assured, 2:54 exists as a rock-hard foundation for future sonic exploration – a subtle reminder of exactly what a debut album should be.
Listen: Circuitry – 2:54