Misc. Day – Cast Away

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Much like the snow that hits in the sunken winters of December, the New Year’s Eve release date for PUZZLE’s 2016 project Laying In The Sand gives moments of awe and vibrance without ever leaving the frozen tundra.

Glimmering through the waves of light disguised as the production, Fletcher Shears who makes up one half of The Garden with his brother Wyatt orchestrates a new life to the self-run group PUZZLE. With Laying In The Sand, much of the undertones from The Garden are present but the jumps in changing the productive style are welcome additions as PUZZLE opens with “Pull ^ Ur Peers” that has a goofy merry-go-round-esque sample switch to caress the listener.

As the ride seems to ensnare the ears, the underlying 808 is a hard-knocking snap that instead of a foundation becomes a centerpiece. Fletcher Shears illustrates a smooth ride over the lyrical aspect of Laying In The Sand that conquers more than just the speakers.

Describing, “The mind is like a racing horse, you gotta let it rest. Pulling up your peers is necessary now and then.” Much of the breaks and true performative wavelength that PUZZLE rides on borders on the bedroom indie and the more illicit and lucid punk style with dashing percussive outlets and ensembles.

Tracks like “Dice” are essential to the PUZZLE discography and make Laying In The Sand this ambitious mix of synthesizing atmosphere and the reminiscent nature of a Nintendo 64 racing game with sunshine and waterfalls to the mind. Fitting the appeal of low-quality but highly on-brand design, “Dice” is cartoonish and bright, giving the lyrics to become a message of free will and expression.

Shears illustrates, “Dice, dice, dice, always rolling dice. Never know what’s coming in this life, life, life,” as production becomes increasingly layered. By the end of the track, the whirlwind of percussive rolls and fills that shift in pitch brings a smile ear-to-ear and traps the audience in the gaze of PUZZLE.

Less of a straightforward approach and more of a… well a puzzle in all honest. PUZZLE takes some strange but intriguing choices with some of the final pieces as “What She Might Say To Me,” leading into “Years,” and then finally closing Laying In The Sand with “Excelerate” are all drastically different animals.

“What She Might Say To Me” is similar in the way to “Dice” as it gives these cheerful tonalities and pushes Shears to be a projecting vocal narrator over intricate layers and walls of sound. The transition into “Years” which follows instead slows much of the action but not to a crawl, instead it is a two-step where the snares collide to become meteorites with subtle hints of electronic production as well.

Finally, “Excelerate” is a spring to the finish line as if it was the time attack mode to your favorite arcade game, PUZZLE closes out like a rocket and leaves nothing but metal and gasoline in the wake. The consistent bass punches snatch the ears and the other percussion matches to be an enthralling and frankly exhilarating piece of movement.

Although both Shears brothers seem to be the busiest twins on the planet, PUZZLE from Fletcher still finds a way to always rise again in the desire to be heard and revisited. Almost like an old friend, Laying In The Sand is warm but never makes the audience sweat too much from the motion.

Listen To Laying In The Sand Here!!! – BandCamp/Spotify

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