Review: The Sems – Any Day Ago

Originally published in Punk Planet September/October 2006

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.

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