Live Review 2:54, Union Chapel, London

Normally so wonderfully hulking and menacing, here they lack a little edge.

It is an evocative venue, the Union Chapel. Besides which, it’s also a venue you can also spend any time before a performance asking anyone who wanders up looking for a free seat to “pull up a pew”, before bursting into hysterical laughter and later allowing you to admire the huge expanse of space create around yourself.

Nevertheless, a lot of credit should be given to Bella Union (whose showcase this is) for the staging. There’s a lot of ingenuity gone into the way the lights and the projections use the space. Illuminating and highlighting, colouring the gothic architecture in a rainbow palette.

Tonight, 2:54 are one of four bands being given the chance tonight to show their case and take us to church. It’s the first appearance from them in a while, a return to the fray for sisters Hannah and Colette Thurlow. Back with a new label and a new album (‘The Other I’).

2:54, Union Chapel, London 2:54, Union Chapel, London

Which they lean on heavily tonight. Five out of seven songs in a short set are drawn from the new record. The opener, ‘South’ is sultry and swooning, with a driving bassline adorned with finicky, antsy guitar lines. ‘Sleepwalking’ is heavier, more eerie and racked with a doomy sense of portent. However, both suffer from a frustrating sense of muddy imbalance.

To be fair, both climax in impressively muscular fashion. But there’s something a bit lacking from them. It’s hard to tell if it’s the venue or the mix or even just a slight ring of rustiness. There’s definitely something amiss with the levels, at times all that can be heard is bass and drums: the elements added by the sisters Thurlow are just a bit lost. And, with all the respect in the world to that backline, those bits are crucial to 2:54.

2:54, Union Chapel, London

However, in a strangely positive way, the fact that ‘Scarlett’, from the debut, seems a little off-colour as well does suggest this is more a factor of time and place than anything more worrying. For that song, normally so wonderfully hulking and menacing, here lacks a little edge.

Photos: Carolina Faruolo

2:54, Union Chapel, London 2:54, Union Chapel, London 2:54, Union Chapel, London 2:54, Union Chapel, London 2:54, Union Chapel, London 2:54, Union Chapel, London 2:54, Union Chapel, London 2:54, Union Chapel, London
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