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Mojave 3 

Puzzles Like You (4AD)

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Puzzles Like You could only have been more jarring to diehard Mojave 3 fans if it had been an album of hardcore crunk. Yes, it fairly rocks at times. But the usually laconic, dreamy Mojave 3 makes the transition practically painless by contrasting uptempo beats, thick bar chords, and soaring choruses with its familiar, dusky, Cornwall-meets-Nashville country.

"To Hold Your Tiny Toes" features Neil Halstead's treated vocals over a jaunty, double-time New Order beat, but "Most Days" layers stately pedal steel and keyboards over the angelic harmonies of Halstead and Rachel Goss. The organ swirls and churning guitar of "Ghost Ship Waiting" sound like the Stone Roses on a Brighton Beach holiday (minus the cocky strut), while "Running With Your Eyes Closed" could be Nick Drake fronting Lambchop. Mojave 3 may have traded in the glockenspiel and theremin for an extra guitar or two, but Puzzles still feels like a natural progression.

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