Genre: Rock, Alternative Rock
Musicians: Joie Calio-vocals, bass, guitar, percussion, Michael Gurley-vocals, lead & rhythm guitar, keyboards, Phil Leavitt-drums, percussion, vocals
Producer: Ken Scott & dada
Engineer:Ken Scott & Eddie Ashworth, Steve Cormier
Mastering Engineer: Stephen Marcussen
I think these 3-piece band and a band called The Posies were around at the same time as it seems like they influenced each other.
As mentioned, Dada is a three piece rock band from California. The band’s songs feature both Michael and Joie sharing the vocals on each song. The group write highly melodic, harmony laden tunes.
1992 saw the release of their debut album Puzzle. First single “Dizz Knee Land” quickly became a staple of radio across the U.S.
In 1999 the band decided to have a break and played their supposedly final show in Norfolk, Virginia in front of 14,000 fans.
During their break Joie Calio worked as an A&R scout for MCA Records and wrote a book. Soon afterwards he released his debut solo album The Complications of Glitter. Michael Gurley and Phil Leavitt formed the band Butterfly Jones and they released the album Napalm Springs. Phil Leavitt also had a short stint with the Blue Man Group during this time.
More info can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dada_(band)
Puzzle is the debut album of the alternative rock group dada, released in 1992
The sound of the CD is ever so slightly lacking in dimension, but good none the less. I do wonder what it would have sounded like on vinyl if done right though.
There are lots of sub-styles on this disc and the instrumentation is fabulous.
Dorina– This is a good example of the guitar work throughout the album, even the background guitar work for texture is interesting.
Mary Sunshine Rain– This track starts out like a Simon & Garfunkle type tune, then rocks up a bit. The acoustic guitar work and vocals are exceptional in this song. I like how the verses are done with the acoustic guitar and the n the chorus brings in the electric guitar, it’s an interesting pattern.
Dog– This is a bit of a strange song lyrically. It starts with a blues style slide acoustic guitar and then goes into a pop style. It is a solid song. This song also demonstrates how dada and The Posies seem to have influenced each other as this song sounds very similar to The Posies.
Dizz Knee Land– This is their most popular song and was a successful single. This is what bassist Joie Calio had to say on the Westwood One radio program On The Edge:
The song isn’t about Disneyland at all. It’s not about Disneyland. It… has nothing to do with Disneyland, actually. It has more to do with the craziness of the juxtaposition of the state of your every day. Just looking around you. You could see a guy’s head being chopped off and, you know, a leg flying away and someone embracing someone in a lovely kiss and then flip the channel and then a chainsaw goes buzzing through, you know, some butter and it accidentally cuts your mom’s head off and then you flip again and they’re making love and then you flip again and it’s Montana going ‘I’m going to Disneyland’. You know, it’s just that whole thing, how insane it is, but you know, it’s just the natural state. I don’t think we’re making a, we’re not pointing our fingers. We’re just… it just is, and we’re just singin’ it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dizz_Knee_Land
To me though, I think it’s a bit more of a statement than that, just look at this line: “I just flipped off President George, I’m goin to dizz knee land”. (I don’t think he meant George Washington either). Anyway, it’s a great song.
Surround– This tune has an interesting bass line. in fact, it’s just bass, acoustic guitar and drums up until the last minute and a half when they kick in electric guitar.
Here Today, Gone Tommorrow– This may be considered my least favorite song on the album, if I had to name one, but it’s still good. It’s a different style than the rest, which only further showcases this groups adaptation at various styles. It almost has a slight Violent Femmes flavor. Listening to the lyrics, I’m not sure if some of them are a self story or if it’s all just story.
Posters– This is one of my favorites on the album. Great drum work in this jazz rock style song. Great lyrics too. This is one of the strongest songs here.
Timothy- Strings, yes strings start off and run through this sad ballad. It’s about a kid who comes from a bad home where the dad drinks and abuses his mom, but the kid formed a fantasy world in an effort to escape his surroundings in his mind and tells everyone a fanciful story of his home life. At the very end, we hear the teacher at his school questioning what is going on at home and a little bit of truth comes out in the last two lines. While a very sad song, it is also a beautiful one.
Dim– Not my favorite, but a solid power pop song while at the same time sounding a bit run of the mill.
Who You Are– This song is in a funk style, again not my favorite one on the album, but ok
Puzzle– Obviously the title track, there are some great guitar effects in this giving kind of a shoegaze feel, good pop rock song.
Moon– This number is guitar and vocals until the last 2 minutes when some drums are added. The vocals are the feature here.
Sudden treat: dada doing their version of Last Train To Clarksville by The Monkees