Steven M. from PALMER TWP, PA Reviewed on 10/29/2013...
I accidentally happened upon dada and it is one of those CDs that has strength beginning to end. From the Alt/space (neo-psychedelic, even) of 'Dorina' which continues through 'Mary Sunshine Rain' and 'Dog' into the Alt/pop of 'Dizz Knee Land' (originally 'Disneyland', until they threatened suit because of the negative connotations of the lyrics, i.e.: "Shot my gun into the night I'm going to dizz knee land I just saw a good man die I'm going to dizz knee land", which is a ironic slant on their ad campaign) The Alt/Pop continues with 'Surround' and then turns into pure Alternative in the jarring, but excellent 'Here Today, Gone Tomorrow' (sort of like Modest Mouse) the next song, 'Posters' is a hard Rockabilly song with a Bo Diddley beat. 'Timothy' follows which brings the tempo down to a mournful Alt/pop (think Beatles 'Eleanor Rigby') They bring it right back up-tempo with 'Dim'. That up-tempo continues through 'Who You Are' and the title track, 'Puzzle'. The album ends on a mellower sad feeling with the final track, 'Moon'. Throughout the album, there are guitar leads which would impress on anyone the talent of Michael Gurley. Beginning to end, this is an album worth owning.
Stacey G. (AndMoreAgain) from TURLOCK, CA Reviewed on 1/5/2008...
Sadly overlooked album. Good musicianship, nice, tight harmonies, intelligent songwriting. Not perfect (the self-indulgent "Posters," for example), but overall a very pretty, mostly melancholy and nicely rocking album.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Frances Eleni P. from SANTA CRUZ, CA Reviewed on 8/15/2006...
Really fun CD. Don't you want to go to Dizz Nee Land!
Truly Original & My Favorite of All Time
Dana Pagliarulo | Westerville, OH USA | 12/31/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Puzzle has remained one of my all-time favorite discs since I bought it the year it was released. There are many reasons. First, it's rare that you find an album in which you love every song on it. This is one of them that I can say this about. Mary Sunshine Rain is to this day still my favorite song (John Mayer's 'Why Georgia' is coming up the rankings quickly) with every other song on this album pushing a close second to the next. I still get goosebumps every time I listen to Mary.The second reason is because the stylings of Dada are like nothing else you have heard before. They push the envelope of rhythm and melody without sounding weird, and it really works. Another attribute of true Dada style are the guitar licks. The chops laid down on these tracks are as important to these songs as the lyrics. It's as if the guitar melodies are talking to you. It's amazing. Get excited about buying this CD. It is not over-produced like today's pop and rap. It is down to earth and real, yet put together like a puzzle with all the pieces perfectly fitting together. What was the last album that you purchased that you didn't FF past a song you don't really care for?Finally, this album is timeless. I can pick it up today and get the same feeling from the songs that I did when I first fell in love with it. Honestly, I think another label should pick up the rights to this disc and re-release it and promote it like the original releases should have been."
Super solid debut
Analog | Planet Earth | 03/28/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Puzzle is the debut album from Dada, one of the best and most underrated bands to come out of the 90's. It's too bad that most people wrote Dada off after "Dizz Knee Land" saturated most radio stations to the point that it drove listeners to despise the band. If you only know Dada from "Dizz Knee Land", you are really missing out on one of the best bands to come from a decade of not-so-great music (with a few exceptions, of course...) Dada was the first concert I saw right after American Highway Flower was released. My friend and I were already huge fans, and seeing them at a local Junior College was a great first concert experience. There weren't many people there, so it made for an intimate concert, and we even got to meet the guys afterwards, which was excellent. OK, so I had been made a permanent Dada fan afer that point. Mike Gurley is a phenomenal guitarist who has only improved drastically with every release. I could watch him play for hours and hours and still be amazed at the sounds he can produce with a guitar. The man knows how to rock, plain and simple, though it never shows as well in the studio. I would strongly recommend seeing Dada live for the full effect on Mike Gurley's awesomeness. The way Gurley and Joie Calio mesh with the vocal harmonies is really something to hear. Calio's bass work is tight, and he's a great singer also when he takes the reigns on vocals. Dada is one of the only TRUE rock bands to come out of the 90's. The tracks on Puzzle:
1) Dorina-great lead off track, starts out mellow with some excellent solo work. 5/5 2) Mary Sunshine Rain-more of a straight up rock song with some nice acoustic guitar and pretty harmonies. 4/5 3) Dog-Another rock song, which I consider one of the weaker tracks. Has a good verse melody and kind of a 60's vibe. 3/5 4) Dizz Knee Land-We all know this one. I still love this song, it was the first song I heard by Dada. 4/5 5) Surround-A quieter but quick paced acoustic rock song with more of that 60's feel. Very pleasant. 4/5 6) Here Today, Gone Tomorrow- Good stoner rock. The spoken verse works well for me. Heavy on the flanger. 4/5 7) Posters-The Dada drum solo song. A fast paced rocker that Dada does so, so well. Awesome! 5/5 8) Timothy- A ballad complete with strings and some interesting lyrics. One of my favorites. 5/5 9) Dim- I believe this song was fleetingly popular also. Quick straight up rock song with a typical 90's sound. 5/5 10) Who You Are- A solid Joie Calio/Mike Gurley song with some awesome guitar licks and rockin' bass. 4/5 11) Puzzle- The title track; a slow spacy trip with swirling guitars. Kind of a 70's lo-fi sound and a great sing along chorus. 4/5 12) Moon- My favorite song on Puzzle. The Joie Calio ballad which builds to the end and finishes with a nice guitar solo. 5/5
Overall, I give it a 4/5. Very solid and competent debut album, nowhere nearly as good as El Subliminoso, but worth checking out. Definately see Dada live if you get the chance, it will be well worth it!"
10 years of heavy rotation at my house
R. Geissman | Lodi, OH United States | 09/25/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of those surprise albums that you come across. This band never got any push and I stumbled upon the CD when trying to fill out a record club order back in 92. Recognized the single Dizneeland from the local college radio station I used to listen to so I ordered it. I have this CD out all the time. I'm a certified Midnight Oil nut and love Crowded House stuff but I continue to listen to this over and over. I have suggested this album to many people and have never had anybody say they didn't like it after just one listen. Buy it! You'll be glad you did. I am."
It still holds up today.
grapabo | Missouri | 09/14/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This album doesn't fit any of the genres of early 90s rock, and perhaps it benefits today by not falling into the old stereotypes. A lot of the songs are thick with vocal harmony, and a lot of them are minor dirges (such as "Mary Sunshine Rain" and "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow") that evoke a more reserved and sophisticated sense of cool than most rock bands."Dizz Knee Land", of course, was the primary radio hit, and the guitar work on that song is typical of the rest of the songs. In other words, it is fantastic throughout. The other radio song was "Dim", which now might plausibly be mistaken for a Gin Blossoms song, even though they didn't come along until later.Some of the songs that deviate from this style are "Posters", which is a quasi-blues romp. (Someone with more than this album might testify otherwise, but in the context of this rather sophisticated album, an attempt at a raw blues song is a stretch.) Another song, which I think is quite good, is "Timothy", in which the multi-layered violin arrangement may bring echoes of the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby". Maybe it's "Luka" revisited, maybe it's not. The comparison doesn't bother me too much.The last song ("Moon") also deviates from form, as it's an heartfelt ballad with just the singer and a guitar accompaniment. I'm guessing that this song, along with a few others, has to do with a breakup of a relationship. All in all, the musicianship is great and the lyrics are sophisticated enough to match. The album would be worth the price in any era."
There's a reason this disk has so many good reviews...
A. Brogdon | 03/22/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Of the hundred and fifty or so CDs that I own, this one reigns as king of the hill. The band does just about everything you could ask for on one album by exploring different styles with almost every track. From the ethereal guitar laid over an almost subliminal bass line in Dorina, to the straight out rock of Dizz Knee Land and Dim, to the acoustic simplicity of Timothy, to the jazzy funk of Who You Are, the band does it all. Michael Gurley is one of the best guitarists of the decade, and his playing combined with tight vocal harmony with bassist Joie Calio and percussionist Phil Leavitt only get better with repeated listening. Do yourself a favor and click the Add to Cart button for this baby. You will not be disappointed."