2:54 - The Other I - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

2:54 - The Other I

by Jeff Penczak Rating:7 Release Date:2014-11-10

The Thurlow sisters sure are an odd lot, from the weird name to the even weirder taste in music (I mean, The Melvins? Really?). Their 2012 self-titled debut grafted haunting, Siouxsie-like acrobatic voices onto a pummeling crescendo of Chameleonesque guitars which hid their hardcore inspirations. Moving over to ex-Cocteau Twin Simon Raymonde’s imprint, the sisters were inspired by poet Percy Shelley’s muse Elizabeth Hitchener, who he referred to as “my second self”, which singer Colette fashioned into the equally enigmatic album title.

Opener ‘Orion’ signals a step away from the wall-of-guitar sound of the debut and settles into a fine atmospheric dreamscape not altogether unlike the Cocteaus at their peak. One thing that does stand out (and not in a good way) is the terrible racket perpetrated by the drummer, who is mixed way too far up front and occasionally drowns out the rest of the track (the punky ‘Crest’ is a particularly egregious example where the chap is practically afforded a bloody drum solo!) Colette is an exceptionally gifted, emotional singer to rival a Liz Fraser or Kate Bush, and burying her vocals under all that overbearing pounding is nothing less than criminal. It totally ruins the album for me.

But not to belabour the point, let me confirm that the songwriting is powerful and draws you in to hang on every lyric, and the sisters’ guitar playing is stellar throughout. ‘Sleepwalker’ is perfectly somnambulistic, with an eerie, Robert (Cure) Smith guitar vibe which tiptoes into gothic waters without drowning; the near a capella ‘Tender Shoots’ is a gorgeous little interlude; the galloping ‘What Difference Does It Make’ riff that propels ‘The Monaco’ suggests an appreciation of the finer points of Johnny Marr’s jingle-jangle sensibilities; and closer ‘Raptor’ sends shivers down the spine with icy, funky basslines driving a hellbound train into like a post-apocalyptic Savoy Brown.

One other (small) criticism that carries over from the debut is that the songs tend to go on too long and attention does waver on the longer tracks, which don’t need their allotted five minutes to get their point across. I imagine these might work better live with more to look at (!), but here I did check my watch a few times (and if you’re keeping score, like the debut, there are no songs that clock in at the rendezvous time!)

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