GEN F: 2:54

Photographer Stephen JB Kelly
August 29, 2011

These days, the inseparable Thurlow sisters mostly do their moody dirges in an upstairs East London flat for a row of undecorated windows and all the neighborhood to see. At any given moment their Dalston hood, a notoriously Turkish hipster drag, can see them losing it on the bed, jumping up and down in socks with only their guitars to distinguish them from giddy kid siblings on a sugar binge. They are Hannah and Colette, 26 and 28, and although they stomp their sheets and giggle through their interviews, London is taking them very damn seriously. And to hear the dire tones of 2:54, their band named after a particularly crushing tick in a Melvins track, you’d never guess they were having so much fun.

The flat is Hannah’s and her bedroom serves as 2:54’s primary practice space and evolution chamber. “We’ve been finding our identity in here,” Hannah explains, “We are still coming to grips with what we want to be.” They are afforded the luxury of feeling a little lost thanks to a miraculous management company, which, despite the band’s lack of albums or appreciable entries on Google, has drummed up funding for some uninterrupted writing time on the strength of their knockout single, “Creeping.” Neither of the girls has had to work since Christmas.

In this paid introspective stretch, the definition 2:54 keeps landing on is “wilder.” It’s counterintuitive considering how much Hannah and Colette have slowed their roll since ditching their punk band, Vulgarians, but it’s pretty right on. They have moved out of the sweaty two-minute safety of drunken club pits into an airy twilight wilderness, whispering new wave dread. On “Revolving,” a dreamy marching number that evokes Mordor as much as it does Manchester, they unveil their sonic discoveries in a blinkless frozen warning. It is the opening track of their upcoming EP and a map of their new landscape, painted in feral tones by bonfire, all thinned-out, nervous and waiting.

Since they found this sound, all anybody can talk about is how sweet they look in their leather jackets, but of the crowds, the clamor and all the purported cool, the Thurlows have nothing to say. Fashionable is not what they want to be. 2:54 define themselves with the aspiration to get less defined. “Playing these new songs goes from being so terrifying to feeling just incredible,” Hannah says. It’s the fear-adrenaline of forging through that threshold—sisters on a night journey—that finally sets them apart. What 2:54 wants to be, they say, is “becoming.”

In the meantime, riding high and happily blind, Colette calls their out-of-nowhere British infamy “a dream come true. But going in, we didn’t even know it was possible. We have no expectations. We just thought, Fuck it, let’s do it, and that was it.” Hell yeah, 2:54. You are found.

Stream: 2:54, Scarlet

Posted: August 29, 2011
GEN F: 2:54