WDEL Blog: Eclectic Hobbies with Allan Loudell

Album review: "Release Me" -- The Like

The latest disc by an up & coming alternative group in my car C.D. player: "Release Me" by The Like, a band which first came together in September 2001. (Incredibly, the band's original founders were 15, 15, and 16 respectively, but admittedly, the daughters of music industry veterans.)

First a bit of background: I first became a fan of this young all-girl, pop rock band when The Like opened for a Tori Amos concert at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, New Jersey back in 2005. (I'm a huge Tori Amos fan!)

I didn't expect much from such a young band, but the Cranberries-like harmonies and guitar rifts impressed.

I was waiting to see if The Like would get any airplay on F.M. music stations. Barring some non-commercial, alternative F.M. station somewhere, it didn't happen.

In retrospect, The Like's 2005 debut album, "Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking?" probably didn't "fit" today's cookie-cutter formats.

No matter the interesting name, derived from the habit of many young people - particularly young girls, perhaps even more so, California girls - to constantly insert "like" in their conversation!

With the passage of several years, I was wondering if The Like would ever release a second album.

Perusing shelves of rock / pop C.D.'s this past Labor Day weekend, I was pleased to discover a new album by The Like: "Release Me".

I immediately noticed four band-members instead of three, and the minimalist cover reminded me of a Blondie album.

Maybe that was the idea.

Unbeknownst to me, one original band member left, one briefly replaced her, and by early this year, The Like had two new members.

Still, I wasn't quite prepared for this second album with its energetic organ.

Assisted by Amy Winehouse producer Mark Ronson, "Release Me" explodes with catchy, immediately addictive tunes, hearkening back to Blondie, perhaps a little Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, maybe a little Dusty Springfield (Z. Berg's husky voice certainly recalls Dusty), but most obviously the 1960's girl groups, especially the Shangri-Las.

This latest batch of tunes is simplistic, recalling a simpler time, yet still contemporary. (Ronson is known for this type of synthesis.)

Unfortunately, "Release Me" represents such a departure from "Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking?", some of the original fans may feel abandoned.

But I honestly enjoy both albums -- for DIFFERENT reasons.

I just regret if I ever see The Like in concert again, they're unlikely to ever perform one of the tunes from their first album.

But will this new approach bring The Like to commercial F.M. radio? Time will tell. I could see a segueway from Paramore or Anna Nalick into The Like, but from a former "American Idol" artist, not so much!

(Our alternative indie / rock station - Graffiti Radio at graffitiradio.com & 93.7 F.M.--H.D. 3 - has playlisted two cuts from this album, including the title cut!)

If you're accessible to this kind of pop, try listening to the first cut, "Wishing He Was Dead", and then the others.
You might find yourself hooked.

But don't think the album is over when you hear a long pause in the middle of the last cut: In an appropriate close, you hear a cover of Joe Ivory Hunter's "Why When Love is Gone", which the Isley Brothers made popular.

Posted at 3:42pm on September 7, 2010 by Allan Loudell

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