By Gareth Watkins
It’s never good to point out the single element that ruins an otherwise good record, and it’s even less fun to point out that this element is the vocals and lyrics. Guitarists just have to have their fingers in the right places at the right times, drummers just have to hit things, but lyricists have to look at life and say something interesting and original about it. That’s hard, but people do it every day. On The Other I, London-based sisters Hannah and Colette Thurlow don’t, despite being able to coax some beautiful sounds from guitars and bass.
Collette’s vocal delivery recalls her home country’s trip-hop genre, not exactly somewhere to find exceptional vocalists aside from Portishead’s Beth Gibbons, who could sing the “Chicken Tonight” jingle and still make you cry. The lyrics are just … lyrics. When Garage Band gets sophisticated enough to write words to go with auto-generated music, they’ll sound something like 2:54.
It’s a shame, because the musicianship on display here, whilst hardly groundbreaking, is solid. Overproduced, but solid. Turn the guitars up and the vocals down, slow everything to a crawl and you’d have passable shoegaze. But with the only-passable singing so high in the mix, usually drenched in enough reverb to swamp everything else, the interesting musical ideas here lay hidden.
2:54 are on Bella Union, a label with some major credibility to lose on bands who can never be more than middle of the road. They’ve found dozens of better artists and so could you.2:54, The Other I