Buffalo’s latest electronic duo, Jaugust, specializes in a catchy, relatable indie-pop sound inspired by early 2000s electronica-meets-emo bands like The Postal Service, American Football, and The Appleseed Cast. The duo is composed of Nick Sessanna of the Buffalo indie-emo band Cooler (check out our previous review) and Anthony DelPlato of indie meets alt-pop act Everything in Waves (previous reviews here). Their debut release, Be My Echo, Always, came out on September 8th, 2023.

The project’s opener, “Racing the Shadows,” is a perfect modern take on upbeat synth-pop. It’s a “running away” song that sounds like the band is trying to beat out past mistakes by turning a blind eye to them. The second verse, however, dives into what Jaugust is running from – the project’s main theme, and its source of conflict. Jaugust tends to keep lyrics pretty generalized to heartbreak as Sessanna sings of things like being haunted by old memories and struggling with sleepless nights. Nevertheless, there’s something really immediate about the group’s subject matter as their relatable lyrics complement their accessible pop-rock style. Backups from DelPlato add an interesting movement to the song, shifting up and down in unpredictable, but ear-catching ways. Fluorescent synth lines add flavor to the song’s minimal instrumental and contrast the darker songwriting. The synth sound is nostalgic, like the way a glowing neon light outside any gas station or movie theater, no matter what it says, always feels familiar.

The following song “Lonely” is another happy-sad earworm, but it moves at a more languid pace, making it feel like a relationship has already rotted away. It’s a gloomy dream pop song, with fewer bells and whistles than the aforementioned “Shadows.” Sessanna’s low-register vocals invite a cold depressive mood, placing more emphasis on introspective lyrics than an upbeat groove. “Lonely’s” bridge features some emo influence in both Sessanna’s dejected delivery and lyrical references to the seasons. He sings “When the summer melts the snow in the middle of next May you might love me like you used to and we’ll move on to better days.”

The songs on the project coincide with the album cover, an isolating image of a couple walking across a bridge. Despite there being two people in the photo, the image’s grey hue and misty setting contribute to a lonely vibe.

“Silence Broken” slows it down again, yet the instrumental keeps things interesting with different textures and moods. The lyrics see a transformation in the album’s themes as the songwriter acknowledges their failures and hopes to move on—his development recalls the album cover. The bridge can represent a relationship’s many transition periods between separation and getting back together.

The title track features one of the EP’s most exciting passages in which stark electronic elements and more traditional rock instrumentation combine for a firework ending to the record. It’s a good representation of how the entire EP excels in a minimalistic electronic soundscape that still manages to sound lush, and whirring with energy.

It’s a bittersweet ending that’ll leave listeners aching for more after the project’s short 14-minute runtime. Stream Be My Echo, Always on Spotify or Apple Music.