2:54 | Live Review

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 A wave of smart elegance and androgynous chic is apparent.

Slightly dishevelled and wet from the outpour of rain I finally arrive at the welcoming dimly lit Louisiana. Despite the miserable turnout, and a boot filled almost entirely with muddy water, optimism remains high as it is pleasing to find a suitably packed out top room for the deserving Thurlow sisters. With Bristol once being their home town, there is a feeling of nostalgia in the air and it is obvious they are pleased to return; after all, the Louisiana itself was the first stage that lead guitarist Hannah Thurlow had ever performed on at the early age of just fifteen whilst involved in a previous project. A realisation is made very quickly this is no ordinary show, but a special occasion for the girls to return to such familiarity and humble surroundings.

After a tight set from supporters LSA, 2:54 casually take to the stage; I am drawn in by admiration as a wave of smart elegance and androgynous chic is apparent, the self proclaimed Melvin’s influenced sisters present themselves sharply in an attire of black and white proving effective as an array of coloured light beams down upon them. At first there is an almost slightly awkward and eerie silence; but sure enough as soon as the heavy beat kicks in, with a rush of clever finger picking melody from set opener and brand new titled track ‘South’ the powerful surge of the music takes them over as both sisters hover across the stage. They’re clearly in their element, swaying back and fourth in unison, immediately the crowd are drawn in, hypnotised as all eyes obey, following each and every movement they make as if watching a shrinks pocket clock.

Lead singer Collette gives out a warm but still shadowy gaze, transfixed on her audience. Hannah, holding her own air of cool – which is almost intimidating, stands diligently in her place as she masquerades her elegant long fingers rapidly back and forth up and down the guitar neck often playing fairly complex melodic lead riffs, making it all look oh so effortless as she offers the perfect support to her sisters haunting and wispy vocal. I notice she isn’t so keen on supplying the backing vocal, though, almost whispering and barely looking up from her guitar, portraying she is perhaps not the most confident singer, although understandable as not her first instrument.

With their second album ‘The other I’ already released earlier this year signed under label Bella Union; mostly new material is showcased including single ‘Blindfold’ a refreshing and upbeat contribution to their set which Collette projects with angst and confidence lifting up her knees as she chants powerful words “Counting the days, counting the Days! I’m still looking, and I couldn’t find…” thought to be written in attempt for a new enthusiastic transition altogether for the group and a lead to stronger visual performance, it does create a definite contrast, still sitting nicely along the older material, but somewhat matured.

Personal standout moments for me included laid back but darkly laced track ‘Scarlet’ and seductive heavy bass derived novelty in it’s own right, ‘Sugar’; both taken from self-titled debut LP released back in 2012. At this point in time I notice the left speaker to the stage is bouncing so heavily due to the crowd stomping, it very nearly is on the verge of collapsing directly onto the not so fortunate fan girl right next to it, of which she is clearly oblivious. My fears are thankfully put to rest to see Big Jeff ‘save the day’ as he skilfully manages to multi-task his famous head bang whilst holding it in place.

As closing track “Orion” emerges it steers away from the older lo-fi doom fuelled material; a thunderous crash of an opening projecting pronounced drum beats, piercing confident guitars and teamed with an overall sleek professional performance. After such a high level of musical nourishment we are sent away wishing for a further taste as Collette leaves us with the lyrical statement “Oh I know you can love me…” which undoubtedly; myself and others in that room tonight would have agreed, was a definite unspoken mutual agreement.

Check out ‘Scarlet’ right here: