Review Summary: Aggressive, abrasive, grindy, and about as short as Gary Coleman (please don't sue me)...
2 O' Clock Girlfriend is a 2 piece outfit that combines the staples of cyber-grind, such as drum machines and odd keyboard samples, with a few metalcore touches (a-la breakdowns), and some mathy sensibilities, and while they might not yet be equatable to the likes of Genghis Tron or An Albatross, they definitely show a lot of potential. Clocking in at just over 14 minutes long, with the average song length at around 1 minute, A Tale Of Two Cities is abrupt to say the least. Now while that seems to be way to short for a full length album, it ends up being one of the album's greatest strengths, and sadly, one of the album's greatest weaknesses. The brevity of the album of is more or less called for, as one can only take so much in your face abrasiveness, but a few of the shorter songs (i.e. the ones around 30-40 seconds) tend to feel like they end before they really build up momentum.
Though the album may be lacking in the length department, the band certainly didn't skip out on the aggressiveness. The album bounces around from song to song with little to no breathing room, rapidly shifting from oddly timed dissonant passages with bansee-esque screaming, to breakdown sections, to blast-beat sections, to pretty much everything in between, and though the music is constantly shifting to keep things interesting, the vocals almost serve to negate it. The vocals tend to stick almost exclusively to the high (and I mean really high) register and rarely venture into lower territory, and even when they do, its usually hidden in the background so it does very little to break up the monotony. On the flip side, the constant barrage of the vocals also serves to enhance the aggressive and spazzy elements in the music at times, so it almost balances out (but not quite). The only thing that serves to break up the non-stop onslaught of the music is the 4 minute long Record This Analog In The Log, and it does so rather violently. After a good 6 minutes of nothing but fast paced dissonance and breakdowns, a 4 minute long track consisting of nothing but a simple drumbeat, a few clean guitar parts, and some odd noises seems like a rather odd thing to just throw in, and aside from interrupting the flow of the songs, it's really just incredibly boring and pointless. Also, since said song is 4 minutes long, it takes up almost one third of the entire album, which brings the actual song content of the album down to around 10 minutes, which is bordering on painfully short, and it would have helped immensely if a few of the songs were expanded, even if it was only by a minute or so.
So that's pretty much it. The album is brief, aggressive, spastic, and just a little bit silly, and that's really all it tries to be. Aside from a few small hiccups in the form of awkward transitions (not to mention the 4 minute interruption that is Record This Analog In The Log), and the unfortunate repetitiveness that abounds in so many albums nowadays, the album is solid, and pretty enjoyable. So if you are a fan of any form of grind, it couldn't hurt to look into this album (it happens to be free from last.fm).