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"Release Me"

The Like – Release Me
30 August 2010, 10:00 Written by Adrian Mules

Cast your mind back to 2005, when a group of fresh-faced American school friends set their sights on conquering the charts with their upbeat brand of breezy-indie-pop. They were of course those lovely ladies of The Like, you may recall them clinging onto Johnny Borrell at the NME awards or the press sneering at the fact that some of their parentage were supposed illuminate of the music industry. So the last thing you’d expect in 2010 was for them to burst into your living room in a tie-dyed mini as mini-skirted 60’s-style pop-sirens, unless, of course, you take a lot of LSD.

So, yes, they are back, with a line-up change and a desire to move forward whilst keeping a keen eye on the past. A large proportion of the album has been produced by retro-go-to-guy Mark Ronson, but the girls charm and energy prevents this from purely being an exercise in nostalgia. The twelve tracks that make up Release Me are mostly circa-two-minute-thirty pop songs back-dropped with jangly guitars and spiffy organ sounds that afford their harmonious vocals ample space to play and explore.

The album opens with ‘Wishing He Was Dead’ – a darkly humorous song in which Elizabeth Berg details the violence and torture she has planned for her love-rat ex. Any future boyfriends would be wise to take note of what awaits any acts of infidelity toward Ms.Berg. Next up is the hip-swinging ‘He’s Not A Boy’, this simple song elegantly flows into early highlight ‘Release Me’. The delivery owes a hefty debt to Belle & Sebastian’s ‘Stars Of Track & Field’, but it stands on its own two legs as one of the finer pop moments of the year thus far.

As the album progresses ‘Fair Game’ manages to rhyme incestuous with tempestuous to great effect. But things don’t really deviate too far from the formula, although with such a barrage of neatly packaged and buoyant tunes the album is never allowed the opportunity to outstay its welcome.

This isn’t going to tear the universe asunder with the genre defying sounds nor is it going to be everyone’s cup of tea. But if you are partial to a bit of uncomplicated pop you won’t go far wrong with this, but cherry picking the stronger tracks may suffice for many.

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