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Puzzles Like You

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Editors’ Notes

Anyone accustomed to Mojave 3’s slow-building, pedal-steel western vistas channeled through its British sensibilities (which is to say, anyone who’s been a fan of the group) will be surprised to hear the sudden goose in the band’s collective step here. “Truck Driving Man” starts things on a decidedly upbeat note: rollicking away like a Chuck Berry/Beach Boys number, inviting you to surf the good times ahead. Say what? Mojave 3? Yes, call it "Life on Prozac," if you will. The title track follows as the album’s second cut and clocks in at 2:15! From a band that often couldn’t play or say anything in fewer than five minutes, its sudden ability to draw within economical lines is refreshing, since it hasn’t sacrificed a thing. Neil Halstead is a gifted writer who delivers songs that immediately stick to the ear. “Breaking the Ice” swirls with harmonies and an unabashed pop sense that aligns the group with affection for ‘60s AM radio and an imagined desert Americana. A few slow numbers (“Most Days,” “You Said It Before”) still lurk for those in need of a depressive fix.

Customer Reviews

Sounds like .....

As I listen to the uptempo numbers on this disk, I get the feeling that I've heard this band before. No, it doesn't sound like Mojave 3, but it doesn't sound bad, either. In fact, it's, well, nice. I find myself staring, not at my shoes, but out the window, at the trees, the clouds, the people walking past. Then it strikes me: The Bats! That little-known alternative band from New Zealand, ignored by all but the smallest college radio stations back in the 90s. And hey, that's not a bad comparison. This is not the end of the world, folks. Just pretend it's the latest cd from the Bats and go on about your lives as if everything is fine!


Formed: England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Between the recording and release of Slowdive's ambient Pygmalion, Neil Halstead began writing more song-based tunes to occupy down time. Weeks after being dropped by Creation, Halstead and the remaining members of Slowdive (Rachel Goswell and Ian McCutcheon) recorded six demos within three days, much of it live without overdubs. Their manager brought the tape to 4AD head Ivo Watts-Russell, who immediately gave the trio money to record more material. Feeling that the direction was too removed to...
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