I'm going to lift the Wizard of Oz's curtain here and start off by telling you that this review was late. In part that was because I am a terrible human being, but it was also because listening to Juffage's new album Semicircle I couldn't quite find anything to say. The Leed's based Chicagoan's undoubtedly impressive efforts left me, at first, with a generally positive, but alarmingly unformed opinion.

Semicircle as a whole is an interesting piece of work, at times it's small and raw, and others bombastic, but it always remains very human. There are hints of Broken Social Scene, bits of Explosions in the Sky, and countless other bands that describe musical nuances I don't have the vocabulary to flesh out. What's different here is that everything is put together by just one guy, Jeff T Smith, and that provides an emotional immediacy that can be lacking in other 'epic' bands.

'Semicircle', the title track, begins the album, and in so doing, provides a forewarning of what is to come: Quiet, almost-crooning at first, Juffage's melodic guitar playing crashes, and eventually melds with a pointy soundscape of beeps, and whirs, and choral singing. 'My Weakness' is another stand out track, which feels like the end of great summer evening, as spiralling synths and stamping drums are met with sharp guitar licks, and although there's a reliance on loops, everything feels in constant motion, moving on, if not necessarily going anywhere.

The problem, or more importantly my problem with writing this review, is that while everything bar the painful 'Drone II' is good, there's not much here that grabs your attention. Broken Social Scene's You Forgot it in People is a very obvious comparison, and is an album that tends to be thought of not as individual tracks but as a complete work, and that's how I feel Juffage wants Semicircle to be considered. However, whilst YFIIP let you wander off into your own thoughts, it brought you back at the start of each new track, and Semicircle just doesn't do that. Much of what is here would be perfect as an interlude between more pronounced “songs”, but there aren't quite enough of those to complete the balance. Essentially, it remains good, but not great.

Oh, and why on earth did he have to call himself Juffage...

Photobucket