2:54 – [Album]

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Remember the first time you heard The Cure or Depeche Mode? It was awesome, wasn't it? The tremendous impact those moments had could have been for any number of reasons – maybe you were unhappy, or maybe you were sick of New Wave seeming to represent the totality of pop at that moment and wanted something which soundd a little more human, or maybe it was because Robert Smith's guitar parts or Dve Gahan's melancholy melodiesjust felt right and had the power to elevate you to a whole other existential plain or crush you where you stood with just the right intonation. It could have been for any of those reasons or more, but it pounded you and wowed you and made you believe that a whole other universe of ideas and beliefs were possible within the context of pop songwriting. It was a profound moment then, and it has the promise of being a profound moment now when listeners hear 2:54's self-titled debut; it's dark, it's moody and it's soulful, and it may be the gateway to a whole other level of music appreciation and consciousness for those with whom the record connects in just the right way.

The sense that a new evolution or initiation or development is taking place right before a listener's ears will be unmistakable for those who get aboard with “Revolving,” which opens 2:54. There, a sort of warm and dense sensory deprivation begins which is both dark and elating. Listeners will find themselves swallowed up whole by the rich warmth of Hannah Thurlow's guitar and the constant, seemingly inevitabl drive of the rhythm section manned by Alex Robins and Joel Porter. It's dark and hypnotizing and beautiful, but the real pearl at the center of “Revolving” is the sense of trepidation incited within listeners by singer Colette Thurlow. In her, the sum totality of a series of classic Brit-pop lyrics including “There's too many people planning your downfall,” “Take me down – six underground,” “Kiss me, kiss me, kiss me, your tongue's like poison” and “I know what I need/ When my heart bleeds” are combined, personified and given the breath of life. That voice is a slippery, beautiful thing which offers listeners a vivid portrait of longing and trepidation all at once and effortlessly.

…Yeah, they'll be hooked alright.

With the tone and standard of the album set by “Revolving,” 2:54 has a tall order to fill certainly – but they handily continue their path brilliantly through this runime and even throw in a few shocks to make sure those who were won over by the basic sounds and structures the band is working with here will keep coming back. Songs like “Easy Undercover,” “Scarlet” and “A Salute” keep up the emotionally articulated arc begun by “Reolving” with solid results that will compell listeners to delve even more deeply into the darker reaches of the longing and uneasiness expressed by this record, but the grand, epiphany-inspiring moments like “You're Early,” “Circuitry” and “Creeping,” which Thurlow's misgivings, the icy but epic and perfectly carved guitars and the rolling, mammoth rhythm section – comes together and produces a divine chime instead of a harrowing (but no less welcome) serge. Those are the moments which will win fans for life.

With all that praise and dissection made a matter of public record now, this critic has begun to realize that some readers might scoff and call his prose overwrought. “The music can't be that life-changing,” they'll say dismissively. That's fair enough for the uninitiated to contend, but those who try 2:54's debut will understand and won't argue when I contend that this record could change your life.

Don't believe me? Listen for yourself and see.



2:54's self-titled debut is out now on CD and is available digitally, but will be released on vinyl on June 19, 2012. Buy the CD here on Amazon , or pre-order the vinyl here .

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