I did a review of The Like’s new album for the 405 and I liked it so much I thought I’d post my review on here too!
The Like have had quite a transition since they sprung onto the UK music scene in 2006. Their debut album ‘Are you thinking what I’m thinking?’ came with an image of modern coolness, a pop-grunge sound and unfortunately some pretty bad reviews. The Like seemed to be doing everything right, the image, the rockstar boyfriend in the shape of Razorlight’s Johnny Borrell (maybe not justifying the word Rockstar) and some well-constructed songs, but something didn’t click with the public or the critics. Now, 5 years later they are back with a very different image, very different sound, and it would seem a very different decade.
From modern chic, The Like have gone back to the 1960’s. The decade where girls wore shift dresses, Twiggy inspired make-up and listened to ‘Please Please Me’, and it seems The Like have done exactly all those things. They have also lost a member, obtained two new members and gained the help of super-producer Mark Ronson who has produced their new record ‘Release Me’. After listening to both albums, you’d hardly believe its the same band. Z Berg’s husky vocals and catchy songwriting is present in both but thats pretty much it. ‘Release Me’ oozes 60’s cool and has a wonderful unperfected finish to it. This could be a band recorded in a 60’s recording studio. The influences of Dusty Springfield, The Beatles and The Kinks are obvious throughout the album and as a lover of 60’s music, I have taken quite a liking to The Like’s new album.
The first track ‘Wishing He Was Dead’ launches the listener into the break-up, girl-power attitude to many of the album tracks. It’s infectiously catchy, the chorus layered with girly ooh’s, skipping rhythms and an over excited bass line. Second track ‘He’s Not a Boy’ sees no breath from the dancing as the boy-hating lyrics and catchy melody lines continue. The addition to the organ is also notably very beneficial to the band adding to the melody lines provided by Z Berg’s guitar part. Title track ‘Release Me’ and ‘Walk of Shame’ continue the same upbeat catchy theme of the album. ‘Narcissus In a Red Dress’ offers a gentle breath from the heavy bass lines and skipping drum rhythms. ‘Fair Game’ shows a quirky vocal line from Z Berg which is a very welcomed addition to the album and the next track ‘Square One’ begins with a Rolling Stones inspired guitar riff.
‘In the End’ sounds like a pretty perfect album end and after the fade-out you feel like you’ve listened to a very good album, thats not the end though. ‘Trouble In Paradise’ continues the infectious melodies which the album began with and ‘Catch Me If You Can’ does, well, exactly the same although thankfully it is one of the best tracks on the album. ‘Don’t Make a Sound’ is truly British Invasion inspired and ‘Why When Love is Gone?’ seems like an attempt to prove the albums influences which isn’t needed as this album speaks for itself on that matter.
Mark Ronsons influence on the album isn’t in-your-face, which is nice. The production of the album as a whole sounds very like a live recording and with a little Ronson magic, the production is near perfection. The songs on the album also all remain fairly short which means you never get bored of a single hook. A lot of the songs are a little same-y but their is no denying Z Berg’s songwriting talents. Overall, I am a fan. This album is the most upbeat, girls-do-it-best break-up album I’ve ever heard, a perfect pop creation.
Best Tracks: He’s Not A Boy, Catch Me If You Can, Walk of Shame