Review: The Sems – “Any Day Ago”

Yes, the sophomore effort from this one-man studio project quickly defines itself with an enveloping succession of fragile, synth-driven pop soundscapes. But it’s not until the sixth of the disc’s 14 tracks — the intoxicating “The Last Noise” — that it starts pacing down roads toward a higher plateau.

Just a hair under two minutes long, the song contains every element that lends The Sems its ethereal charm: the carefully overlapping guitars, pulsing tides of keyboard, understated electronic backbeats, Pete Bogolub’s sullen whisper.

What follows does not disappoint: from the glassy “Pigeons” and the lullaby xylophone and echoing drums of “Float In Space” to the more danceable beats and electronic-assisted shuffle of “Yesteryear.” It’s an inviting disc of indie-pop and swirling (but subdued) electronica, one whose dreamy studio vision extends beyond what’s often from one man and an arsenal of keyboards. – Punk Planet, September/October 2006

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About the author

Justin Vellucci is a staff writer for PopMatters, Spectrum Culture, and MusicTAP, a contributor to Pittsburgh Current, and a former staffer for Popdose, Punk Planet and Delusions of Adequacy. His music writing has appeared in national magazines such as American Songwriter, alt-pubs like The Brooklyn Rail, Pittsburgh CityPaper and San Diego CityBeat, blogs Swordfish, Punksburgh and Linoleum, and the Gannett magazine Jetty. He lives in Pittsburgh.

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