Mojave 3 

Puzzles Like You (4AD)

While Mojave 3’s never been an easy outfit to pin down there are a few things you can always count on them to deliver: introspective, well-considered lyrics, surprising and adept combinations of instruments, and Neil Halstead and Rachel Goswell’s trembling, sylvan harmonies. Puzzles Like You is as lush a Mojave 3 album as any, but is marked by a musical and lyrical optimism that is uncharacteristic. While 2003’s Spoon and Rafter addressed estrangement and heartache, Puzzles is more concerned with the affirmation of love as a positive, driving force in the world. ‘Breaking the Ice’ is the best embodiment of this new view. ‘Stand a little closer,’ sings Halstead, “We’ll try breaking the ice again.” This lyric’s a fitting microcosmic representation of the whole album. With Puzzles Like You, it’s like we’re meeting a happier, well-adjusted version of a band that’s produced consistently good but, until now, no truly essential albums.

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