Abel Tesfaye's dark, twisted album is at odds with the glossy pop world he's been thrust into
2:54 - '2:54'
The Thurlow sisters have escaped the hype machine is one, shiny piece
And yet, impressively defying expectation is ‘2:54’’s biggest strength. From its spacious, shoegaze-inflected production to the surprisingly clean melodic lines that resonate throughout, this is an album that rings with the honed precision and craftsmanship of a job thoroughly done. So much so that the song that sparked everyone’s interest in the first place, ‘On A Wire’, isn’t on here. It doesn’t do justice to the band 2:54 have become after 12 months of touring. They’re polished, assured, ready.
You can hear it on ‘Sugar’, which rolls along on throbbing, grungy basslines, with Colette’s doomy, breathy vocal icily husking “now I know you’re mine” as if it’s a threat rather than a promise. ‘Revolving’, meanwhile, retains the detached sense of Winona-Ryder-in-Heathers alienation, and ‘Scarlet’ pits them somewhere between Warpaint and the Pixies, at once evil-sounding, sweet, strange and feminine. The results are more subtle and accomplished than you might expect from their loud, ramshackle influences (they talk about riot grrrl and are named after a point in a Melvins song).
‘Ride’ ups the angst somewhat with prickly guitar work that distills their inspirations, while closer ‘Creeping’ washes by on waves of distortion. But it’s the overall elongated lilt that pins the record together and allows it to beat to its own drum. Rather than being a rushed job, ‘2:54’ glories in taking it’s own bittersweet time.
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