Blair Lee The Puppy Game
In her debut EP The Puppy Game, Canadian singer-songwriter Blair Lee leans into vulnerability, reflection, and the inevitable passing of time to deliver a wondrously beautiful and expansive record. Named after a game Lee used to play as a kid with her cousins and siblings (according to her official press release), The Puppy Game is both an ode to her past and a practice in choosing how to shape her future. With five songs spanning just over 16 minutes, The Puppy Game is a refreshing and striking listen that proves Lee is fully capable of making some serious waves in the indie music scene.
Opening the record is “Hurdles,” a song about Lee’s grandparents growing older and grappling with missed family moments. The music video features a montage of her grandparents spending time with her and her family as a very young child, a deeply thoughtful homage to those from whom she came. Sonically, “Hurdles” is rooted in an electro-indie soundscape. Softly strummed guitars, smooth synth, and dreamy keyboards create an expansive backdrop to her soaring vocal melodies. “You take your time/roll the window down and wave goodbye/am I your anchor?/You move in a straight line/but you’re circling my mind/’till next time, ‘till next time” sings Lee during the chorus, making clear the impact the aging of her grandparents has had on her psyche.
In addition to successfully creating a unique and cohesive sonic identity with The Puppy Game, Lee also manages to explore a variety of themes throughout the record. Following “Hurdles” is “Peachy World,” a more uptempo track about coming to terms with the possibility of a romance ending. The EP’s third song, “Flower Mind” addresses the kind of person she aspires to be and how she can achieve her dreams in the midst of doubts and setbacks by focusing on the positives in her life. With lyrics such as “Every day/I wake up and I wonder/How I’ll change/With this rain I’m under/Start to doubt it’s all in my head/If I shut up and drive/Could I leave the storm behind/For open skies” reveals her struggle with staying positive and how she wants to “be the girl smiling for no reason.” In addition to “Flower Mind” being the most introspective track on the record, it is also the most grunge-like, making its placement as the EP’s middle song ideal. After “Flower Mind” comes “All Day,” an ethereal track about Lee further recognizing her agency as a person and artist to be able to pull herself out of darkness.
Blair Lee (photo by Felice Trinidad)
The Puppy Game ends with “Last Bite,” a profoundly beautiful track rooted deep in reflection and an absolute gem of an album closer. The first thirty seconds of the song are particularly chill-inducing and capable of melting even the hardest of hearts. Featuring a tender chord progression paired with Lee’s soft yet searing vocals singing “When the sky burns pink before the night/people stop to take a picture of the light/the water” “Last Bite” brings The Puppy Game to a bracing close, appointing Lee as a force to be reckoned with. In the song’s music video, she is situated alone along a snowy beach in what could be presumed is the middle of winter. The camera captures the essence of the song perfectly with alternating clips of her singing towards the sky, looking contemplative on a tree stump, and running along the beach with her arms outstretched, holding the blanket up behind her as if she were a bird soaring above the ocean.
With an astonishingly gorgeous EP under her belt, Blair Lee has a wide open road on which to drive when it comes to her future. The Puppy Game is best listened when able to view the sky or in a quiet room since Lee’s vocals and the accompanying instrumentation can be heard as acutely as possible. She is worth checking out if you like good music but especially if you’re a fan of MUNA, Soccer Mommy, or Maggie Rogers. We are eager to see what lies ahead for Blair Lee and certainly hope that she comes down to the US from Canada to play some shows in the not-so-distant future!
The Puppy Game was self released and is available now via all major streaming platforms.