Entertainment Weekly


Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content
Emmys 2017
Every unforgettable moment, every gorgeous dress.Click here


The Great Puzzle

Posted on

The Great Puzzle

Current Status:
In Season
Jules Shear

We gave it an A-

If you didn’t know that singer-songwriter Jules Shear has been kicking around for years (his songs have been made into hits by both Cyndi Lauper and the Bangles, and he led late-’70s underground favorites Jules and the Polar Bears), his raspy, unpolished voice might clue you in: It has the comfortable, slept-in quality of rumpled flannel PJs, and that’s its great charm. For his latest selection of catchy, nimble-witted pop songs in The Great Puzzle, Shear has assembled an intuitive backing band-including guitarist Steuart Smith and keyboardist Joy Askew — that stands up to the weird candor of his lyrics (”I can wait like a dog/But I waited for hours/Kind of makes this puppy/Want to pee on flowers”). On ”The Trap Door” and ”We Were Only Making Love,” chiming guitars conjure the gentle power of blinking stars — a perfect match for Shear’s disarmingly earnest diction. And for all Shear’s cleverness with a lyric, it’s his delivery that really makes the record sing: On ”Bark” his nearly whispered accusation (”You don’t know how I feel”) reads like a shout — and an admission that even the most pointed wit will protect you only so much. A-