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I cant even remember where I first heard The Like, but their first album 'Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking?' has been one of my most played albums for a few years now. Whilst I kept an eye on their news, it seems to taken them an eternity (five years I've now learned) to bring out their follow up. Last month my wait was rewarded with the release of new album 'Release Me'.
The Like, when I first knew of them were a three part girl band - and by band I mean a proper writing songs, playing instruments band - they just happen to to be girls. Their earlier music was moody, but energetic indie style with lead singer, Elizabeth 'Z' Berg, beautiful and sometimes husky voice adding real character to their music. This time they have evolved into a four piece after various line up changes but still featuring two founding members and teamed up with Mark Ronson, who produces the new material.
I guess with all these changes, I should be expecting a new sound, but this new album could be by new band entirely, on first listen I was a little disappointed. However, I think when a band does the whole reinventing thing, it's best to try and not do too much comparison. After a few listens, this soon became a firm favourite, too whether this will have the same staying power in my most listened to as 'Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking?' remains to be seen.
Critics have described the new album as 'sixties style pop'. I suppose I reluctantly agree, not that I usually would consider myself a 'pop' fan. The songs however still manage to be quirky and addictive, even if Z's huskyness is not so prominent. The whole album has a much more polished feel to it, not that I'm convinced this is a good thing.
'Release Me' opens strongly, 'Wishing He Was Dead' is a strong song, bitchy and witty, putting a cheating boyfriend firmly in his place. I think this is my favourite on the album.
Following this, 'He's Not A Boy' is not a song about a guy who's has a sex change, but about a guy that can't be changed and that the girl just has make do. Not a favourite, lyrically it's not that strong and is probably the most 'poppy' song on the album. A little repetitive, and I'm afraid one I tend to skip.
Thankfully it's followed by title track 'Release Me' which is just gorgeous. You can hear the sixties style in this. Lots of 'ooos' in the backing singing and just a great tune.
In quick succession four, gems follow this. 'Walk of Shame' is about a journey home after a drunken one night stand, funny and thoroughly enjoyable. 'Narcissus In A Red Dress' is bitchy ode to an ex best friend, and 'I Can See It In Your Eyes' about a indecisive guy who happens to be very bad liar are also very strong. 'Fair Game' is a unusual song, with some fantastic words and some gorgeous little quirks in the voice that Z throws in.
'Slightly weaker tracks, 'Square One' and 'In The End' follow, they aren't bad songs as such, just don't stand out or have as much content as the rest. 'Trouble In Paradise' brings the album back on track and is just a great tune. Likewise, with 'Catch Me If You Can', a song about liking the chase of a new partner but then getting bored when you get them! Unfortunately, 'Release Me' ends on slightly weaker and more downbeat note, 'Don't Make A Sound.' I guess this one is closest in style to The Like's first album but it doesn't seem to fit on here.
In addition to the music the image of the band seems to have a make over too, gone are the muted indie girl clothing and in place a sixties black and white theme for the album artwork. It looks great , very slick and fits with the music perfectly.
Overall, an enjoyable, up beat album that should really be appreciated on it's own and not as a follow up. Recommended.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Wishing He Was Dead
2 He's Not A Boy
3 Release Me
4 Walk Of Shame
5 Narcissus In A Red Dress
6 I Can See It In Your Eyes
7 Fair Game
8 Square One
9 In The End
10 Trouble In Paradise
11 Catch Me If You Can
12 Don't Make A Sound / Why When Love Is Gone