Jhere’s a moment in the Melvins track ‘A History of Bad Men’ when the white-hot
riff-crunching collapses in a smoky haze of churning doom rock, like stones turning to molten lava.
It’s at two minutes and fifty four seconds, to be precise, and it’s a fitting moment of conception for the elegant but ferocious music of sisters Colette and Hannah Thurlow. FAMILY AFFAIR
Though that origins story has been repeated many times since the day in 2010 when
‘Creeping’ popped up online and became an instant blog hit, it remains an auspicious genesis for the duo who call themselves 2:54.FAMILY AFFAIR
Finding themselves with a whole lot of hype to capitalise on, they’ve spent every day since then honing their songs and shows,
and on 28th May their self-titled debut will finally be delivered to the world through
Younger sister Hannah is the quieter half of the duo, with hair like a gothic Elvis and usually found moulded over her guitar, AFFAIR
wringing out plaintive melodies shimmering with reverb. FAMILY
Colette, older by two years and the more dominant conversationalist, is the de facto band leader given to scarlet lipstick. FAMILY
Their synergy isn’t obvious as first – they don’t look especially similar, even
up close, and they don’t trade private jokes or bicker as siblings are prone to do. Instead, FAMILY
there seems to be a certain silent bond between the two – not that they have nothing to say to each other, but there is simply no need to say it.
This quiet assurance is at the core of every 2:54 song, where poise and balance underpin the windswept emotional
turbulence and lovelorn drama of tracks like ‘You’re Early’ and ‘Scarlet’.
No surprise that they often draw comparisons with the brooding darkness of The xx and Warpaint.
But in contrast to the music, in person the girls are nothing but polite and warm, drifting into each other’s sentences and nervously tapping lighters and fidgeting in their seats.
We meet in a flat on one of East London’s more salubrious streets, in which the dark furnishings and black piano provide a suitably moody backdrop for our photo shoot.
They make for quiet sitters, amenable to the photographer’s directions but bristling at the possibility of a vintage stove creeping into the frame,FAMILY AFFAIR
keen to avoid situating themselves in a typically feminine domestic milieu.
With their monochrome grungy clothes and spooky videos to match the atmosphere of the music, it might seem they control their image pretty carefully. FAMILY AFFAIR
“Not at all!” they counter, speaking together. “My main thing is, it’s the last thing I want to think about, ever,
but particularly with performing I just want to be able to move with my guitar – that’s my only thought after sitting in a van all day,” says Colette. But you know,
two sisters, two leather jackets, people are going to describe them as moody gothic types whether they like it or not yet nothing could be further from the truth, surely?
They both laugh. Maybe the music is a conduit for a darker side of their personalities? “I think it’s totally part of us.”
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