The Like: Are You Thinking What I’m Thinking?
Look good on the dancefloor, sound good (mostly) on record
When The Like first shimmied onto the UK radar last November with debut single ‘What I Say And What I Mean’, there was much speculation that this all-girl LA trio were a little too perfect to be true. Before you even got to the music (a dizzy slab of superior fuzz-rock, as it happens) there was an avalanche of glossy press snaps, deluxe artwork and US magazine cuttings to coo over. The former looking like a high-end fashion shoot, the latter reading like a Pamela Des Barres fairytale of A-list adventures on Sunset Strip. Scroll forward four months and it’s finally time to find out whether The Like really are consistent manna from indie-rock heaven or mannered indie-rock harridans.
The answer, to begin with at least, is a happy one. When ‘Are You Thinking…’ is good, it’s exceptional. Opening shot ‘June Gloom’ is The Pretenders meets Veruca Salt – singer Z Berg’s cracked Chrissie Hynde vocal flowing like warm treacle through layers of grunge guitars, while ‘(So I’ll Sit Here) Waiting’ is a select alchemist’s mix of girl-fronted dream-pop (The Sundays, Belly) through the ages. The problems come towards the middle (‘Bridge To Nowhere’, ‘We Are Lost’) when producer Wendy Melvoin’s over-polished approach smothers and softens the punk edges, leaving a handful of dirge-grey ballads behind.
So, are we thinking what Z and co are thinking? Not exactly, they may reckon they’ve got a superb debut; we know that this is an album that you’ll like rather than actually love.