Juffage is a one-man music maker from Chicago. Real name Jeff T Smith, Juffage creates his sounds from loop pedals and gadgets, whilst still sounding raw, much in the way Ed Sheeran does. However, to call his new release Small Fires an EP is a bit optimistic. It consists of three versions of the same song – original, viola version and a remix – and one other track. So probably what most artists would call a single.
That said, the content is ok, but not much to go on to properly get the sound of any artist or band. Small Fires itself is somewhere between White Lies, Hurts and Radiohead. There’s a great drumbeat, and the whole thing’s dreamy enough to be chilled out without being sleep-inducing.
Although to be honest, the Viola Version is more appealing. It’s not any less catchy by any manner of means. It’s a more eerie, haunting version. With the same words and melody, but without a drumbeat, the song takes on a whole new meaning, and however more depressing the end sound, it’s also far more memorable.
The other original track on the EP, HHV, sounds as if it’s stuck somewhere between a lullaby, the theme of a US drama show and anything by Massive Attack. Granted this is also a remix, but at almost 5 minutes, the dreaminess of this song does start to get old. Good music to unwind to, and something for fans of Massive Attack and the like, but not something you could play on repeat, or for long periods of time. And not something I think we can define Juffage by.
As an artist, Jeff T Smith definitely needs more of a variety in his EPs before he can start to build a proper name and following for himself. Both Small Fires and HHV are good enough, but it is hard to create a defining sound from two songs. Especially when one of them is remixed, just to confuse things. As an EP, Small Fires is lacking.