the like release me
    • TUESDAY, JULY 13, 2010

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    LA natives The Like are a set of four pretty, hip and sassy girls with a flair for fashion and a knack for catchy, stylish stuck in your head indie rock anthems. On sophomore album Release Me, they flash an edgy attitude beneath the otherwise 60s girl group inspired snappy pop songs. With the feminist bite of The Long Blondes and the celebratory enthusiasm of The Pipettes, they straddle a fine line between easy trends and their right to a distinctive cutting "cute" they master.

    From the opening snap of that guitar and drum in "Wishing He Was Dead," The Like ensnares listeners to an infectious anthem unlikely to leave your head. The simple hooks and shouted chorus works: the tone of the song is just a little playful, with quite a touch of viciousness, and a classic vengeance on a cheating boyfriend who will be likely be fearing for his life, if not for the song to circle his head for the rest of his life. Title track "Release Me" is a struggle for a love and hate plead for release, snuck between cooed, harmonized backing vocals to sandwich that chorus, and her earnest plead: "I wish you knew I'm not the one for you," revealing a glint of vulnerability but losing none of the full pop flavor.

    "Walk of Shame" demands snapping fingers and in sync dance steps to the ubiquitous after hook-up ritual. "Fair Game" is a whirlwind of melodies and playful layered voices, and choppy layered guitars to something that would not have been out of place on the last Pipettes album. "Narcissus In A Red Dress," one of the longer tracks on the album at 3:43 minutes, tries a slightly darker tone, and attempts to go beyond an infectious pop hook, attempts at fragile emotionalism in the raspy voices between verse. Meanwhile, "I Can See It In Your Eyes" is an unapologetic, past faced flurry of echoed choruses, and though it is full of regret and remonstrations, hardly any of it can be heard in its cheerful melody.

    The seeming relentless optimism and energy of The Like makes the album a fun listen, and easy to sing and dance along to. Though lacking in originality or emotional sensitivity, perhaps The Like isn't aspiring toward just that. But if it's style and fun you're after, few other albums would offer the same perfect little three minute pop songs in this infectious, snide way. -laura yan

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