Jun 25, 2012 Web Exclusive
From Joy Division through The Cure, to Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus, and The Mission, there was a time when 2:54's variety of forlorn music was in perpetual supply. These days, a gloomily-inclined music fan must either settle into genre blends or explore the deeper indie fringes for a more traditional goth-rock fix. Every now and then a band such as 2:54 will emerge with many of the same ingredients as goth's original gangsters, but something about their flavor will be just off; it's not because it sounds disingenuous, but because they've forgotten the elements that allow their cold sounds to connect with its listeners.
The full-length debut of U.K.'s 2:54—led by sisters Collette and Hannah Thurlow—stops short of giving much shape to their songs' somber atmospheres; there's a whole lot of sulk without much substance to back it up. They have a formula down pat, and they mostly stick to it: they'll often open with a tumbling bass riff, roll into some stuttering, post-rock guitars, and build up into chilling vocal theatrics. Occasionally this pattern bends a bit: "Scarlet" opens with an easygoing guitar intro before letting churning, distorted chords take over; "Circuitry" features some ear-catching, militaristic drum fills that break up the swirling monotony. The lyrics are unfortunately rendered incomprehensible by the spooky production and can do little to stop track after track from passing indistinguishably into the next.
It's easily imaginable that a steady diet of Disintegration might have contributed to their sound, but the elements of majesty in The Cure's melancholy remain largely undigested. Strange as it may sound, great gothic music shouldn't leave you feeling this empty. (www.twofiftyfour.net)
Author rating: 3/10
Average reader rating: 10/10