Striving for emotional depth but coming off contrived, London’s own 2:54 creates music that revels in redundancy. The brainchild of Hannah and Collette Thurlow, the album feels like it overreaches without actually trying all that hard. The end result is a plodding, mid-tempo affair that emotes in a way that rings false.
The first problem is that every track is roughly the same tempo. One or two mid-paced rockers would be fine; ten tracks at approximately 100 beats per minutes is downright coma inducing. On top of that is the fact that the songwriting itself doesn’t really change that much from track to track; atmospheric guitar washes imposed on repetitive eighth note basslines matched with uninspired drumbeats. Considering that the actual creation of the music is the exclusive domain of Hannah Thurlow, with Collette coming in after the demo process to flesh out the songs with lyrics and some musical input, the unasked question is if the addition of a third person in the mix would result in a more varied and interesting musical presentation.
The truly depressing part of this whole sorry state of affairs is that there are some interesting moments that get lost in all that mediocrity. Track 5, Scarlet, opens with a guitar part that possesses a Siamese Dream-era Smashing Pumpkins feel. When the rest of the band kicks in, it almost threatens to rock out. The strange thing is that it actually loses energy as it goes on, sinking under the weight of its own ponderousness. Track 3, Easy Undercover, contains a transition around the 2:30 mark that is actually quite interesting, eventually coming to rest on a single guitar part before crawling on to the end. The other two tracks that contain interesting moments are Circuitry and A Salute. Both make fairly effective use of guitar timbre; Circuitry utilizes this as a kind of atmospheric wash, a haze of guitar tone. A Salute actually contains a few timbral shifts, from mild distortion to a shimmering chorus-type effect, which does impart a type of drama to the whole thing.
As ever, the ponderous tempos and contrived emotionalism go a long way towards rendering these small bits of musical interest completely moot and ineffective.