The Like – Release Me (Polydor) 06/08/2010

September 12, 2010 by  

Taking an unnecessary media spotlight some five years ago, LA rich-girl threesome The Like had a folksy Joanna Newsome type sound, and an awfully grating album, even if you like that sort of thing. Although they had all the ‘right’ tools (rich parents, quirky charm, good looks including long hair and legs) they didn’t have the tunes.

Fast forward to today, and The Like mark two are a completely different vehicle. One lady gone, with two in her place, the new line-up has also introduced a new 60s girl group sound, helped along by their new producer Mark ‘bring on the trumpets’ Ronson. However, he appears to have done a sterling job on this occasion, with their comeback effort ‘Release Me’.

His trademark brass is replaced by organs here – new member Annie Monroe playing 60s styles, but sounding like something off of this years MGMT album. Yet ‘Congratulations’ this is not. Release Me is pure sass, a girl group pop record well rehearsed – possibly well researched.

A number of tracks lift from a vast number of sources but work well here. For example, ‘In The End’ starts pretty much the same as the Spencer Davis Groups’ ’Keep on Running’, yet doesn’t excite due to some quite pitiful lyrics throughout. Also, Laena Geronimo’s bass occasionally reeks of ’The Jam’. Especially on ‘Square One’, with its simplified Start! bass riff under a sinister, yet hardly groundbreaking, number.

Fortunately, the rest of the album isn’t so uninspiring, and for the most part it‘s a sprightly, fun record with the tunes we’ve been waiting some five years for.

Opener ‘Wishing He Was Dead’ is spunky – and although the bassline is similar to that on ‘Square One’ (and therefore yet again Start!) the rest of what’s going on is that bit more fun, and a sassy – the driving chorus catches you even on first listen. Single ‘He’s Not A Boy’ works in the same way, showing off the bands comfort in confidence, and is another venturesome number.

The title track holds the momentum, with a solid production from Mr Ronson only adding to it’s seductive charm, which they purvey so well in a live setting.

One criticism is that this album is just a bit too long. Individually, tracks such as the simmering lust of ‘Narcissus In A Red Dress’ or the bold as brass drum licks in ‘Fair Game’ smoulder, yet putting the 12 together it can become almost suffocating.

However, the prospect of being suffocated by these four is a promising one, and as much is their potential in their new found comfort zone. I’m not ready to be released just yet.

[rating:4]


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