The Like | Release Me

Those in red, you know what to do.

With a name like “The Like,” it’s no surprise that the band was formed when the girls were only 15 in 2001. But don’t let the name fool you. Likely influenced (and perhaps overshadowed at times) by their famous music industry fathers, their pop sensibilities shined through from even early on in their careers. Following a series of promising EPs, Elizabeth “Z” Berg, Tennessee Thomas, and Charlotte Froom released their debut EP in 2005 with the Pretenders-lite Are You Thinking What I’m Thinking? to mostly critical acclaim. Though terribly uneven, and a bit overpolished, the album none-the-less featured some impressive, dream pop and indie-fuzz rock numbers (June Gloom, What I Say And What I Mean, and So I’ll Sit Here Waiting are some of the highlights). Z Berg’s, breathy Chrissie Hynde-like vocals shine on every track, but the band often seemed unable to pair them with songs that were memorable or even melodic.

Fast forward five years. My, what has changed.

They lost a bassist, added two new members, switched record labels, and entirely shifted their sound. They’ve now fully embraced the Mad Men, Amy Winehouse reemergence of that 60s sound and look. To call them complete copycats would be a bit off however. True, Mark Ronson comes on board to produce the album, and brings along with him some members of Sharon Jones fabulous backing band The Dap-Kings (much like Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black). But whereas much of the 60s revival thus far has featured a resurgence of the soul sound of the era, The Like’s sound is very different. Sounding more like a boy band (The Kinks and The Animals come to mind) taken over by a girl band (complete with heart break and revenge lyrics), Release Me sounds most often like a long lost early Blondie album than Back to Black: The Sequel (or for that matter, The Pipettes- of which they are likely to be most compared to). The band is stunning as ever, fronted still by the drop-dead gorgeous Z. And, her infectious vocals (that also occasionally call to mind a younger Kim Deal or Harriet Wheeler) remain. But they are at long last paired with the infectious melodies that their previous album often lacked. Sure, the band is doing the whole “me too” thing with this 60s retro-fab fad, but they can feel confident in the fact they are doing it as good as, if not better, than anyone else.

Enjoy these videos:

He’s Not a Boy

Wishing He Was Dead

Fair Game (short film by Gia Coppola for Zac Posen (for Target))