Music

2:54: 2:54

2:54 is a promising debut that blends shoe-gazing shimmer with elements of metal, punk and alt rock.


2:54

2:54

Label: Fat Possum
US Release Date: 2012-05-29
UK Release Date: 2012-05-28
Amazon
iTunes

UK sister duo 2:54 explore a strange synergy between the churning sludge rock of bands like Kyuss and early Queens of the Stone Age and the kind of retro shoe-gazing shimmer that colors a range of contemporary indie acts. The name 2:54 derives from a climactic juncture in a Melvins' song, and while their hazy, ruddy-eyed compositions never quite explode with the fury of their namesake's distorted dirges, they definitely pack more grungy punch than many of their likeminded peers. 2:54 is produced by Rob Ellis (PJ Harvey) and mixed by Alan Moulder (Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails), two studio legends of the ‘90s alt rock era, and though there are hints of nostalgia here for a time when indie truly rocked, these songs sound right at home alongside the work of current buzz-worthy acts such as Frankie Rose and Chromatics.

Collette and Hannah Thurlow split songwriting duties with Hannah composing all of the instrumental parts and Collette writing the vocals. Hannah’s arrangements are built from dense layers of fuzzy, reverberating guitars, propelled by quaking drums and thick, driving bass. Her melodic guitar refrains are never too flashy, but their perfectly placed notes really work their way inside your head on song after song. Collette’s vocals recall early PJ Harvey’s deep and confident delivery, mixed with her own distinctive R&B flourishes and languid way with words.

Album opener "Revolving" builds towards a slow burning climax with a choir of trembling guitars that would feel right at home on a Smiths' record until they burst into overdrive at the chorus, saturated with howling synths and Collette’s chanting, dramatic vocals. Then on "You’re Early", drums and guitars weave intricate rhythmic patterns that flow over into a crescendo of thicker and thicker distortion, only to pull it all out from under you just when you think they’re going to really start rocking out. This tendency to build suspense through unresolved tension carries throughout the album in ways that often defy listener expectations, but could at times benefit from digging in a little heavier. The first half of the album blends together into a haze of blissfully sedated stoner rock that feels kind of like catching a mild buzz when you really just want to get ripped.

Fortunately, "Scarlet" comes along at mid point and cranks things up a few notches both in terms of the heavy factor with sections of cavernous, buzzing guitars, pummeling drums and Collette’s suddenly soulful vocals add a refreshing dimension of pop accessibility. Then on "Sugar" things get downright danceable with a crunchy, undulating bass line, snaking disco punk guitars and an uptempo four on the floor beat. Other highlights include the feedback laden power chord tumult that closes out "Circuitry", and the final track "Creeping" with its incessantly spiraling lead guitars and Collette’s subtle, oscillating melody.

2:54 is a promising debut that blends a range of trending contemporary reference points with guitar based elements of metal, punk and alt rock, providing the music with a welcome rough edge that is missing from many of today’s shoe-gazing up-and-comers. These songs could benefit at times from a bit more variation, but there are plenty of inspired moments on this album that make 2:54 an emerging band to watch as they further develop their sound.

6

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less
9
TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less
9

If space is time—and space is literally time in the comics form—the world of the novel is a temporal cage. Manuele Fior pushes at the formal qualities of that cage to tell his story.

Manuele Fior's 5,000 Km Per Second was originally published in 2009 and, after winning the Angouléme and Lucca comics festivals awards in 2010 and 2011, was translated and published in English for the first time in 2016. As suggested by its title, the graphic novel explores the effects of distance across continents and decades. Its love triangle begins when the teenaged Piero and his best friend Nicola ogle Lucia as she moves into an apartment across the street and concludes 20 estranged years later on that same street. The intervening years include multiple heartbreaks and the one second phone delay Lucia in Norway and Piero in Egypt experience as they speak while 5,000 kilometers apart.

Keep reading... Show less
7

Featuring a shining collaboration with Terry Riley, the Del Sol String Quartet have produced an excellent new music recording during their 25 years as an ensemble.

Dark Queen Mantra, both the composition and the album itself, represent a collaboration between the Del Sol String Quartet and legendary composer Terry Riley. Now in their 25th year, Del Sol have consistently championed modern music through their extensive recordings (11 to date), community and educational outreach efforts, and performances stretching from concert halls and the Library of Congress to San Francisco dance clubs. Riley, a defining figure of minimalist music, has continually infused his compositions with elements of jazz and traditional Indian elements such as raga melodies and rhythms. Featuring two contributions from Riley, as well as one from former Riley collaborator Stefano Scodanibbio, Dark Queen Mantra continues Del Sol's objective of exploring new avenues for the string quartet format.

Keep reading... Show less
9
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image