“June Gloom” starts off The Like’s new disc, and the vocals laid on the track by Z Berg really give the impression that eir has been more influenced by Thom Yorke than anything. Sure, there is a little more substantive of a nod towards this influence because of the very mid-nineties, jangly-alternative played by the band, but the vocals are pretty damning of themselves. Perhaps the most compelling part of The Like’s music on “Are You Thinking” has to be the atmosphere that they envelope their listeners in at every point of this disc; “(So I’ll Sit Here) Waiting” has a sense of longing and desire that has only been achieved with the very pensive “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None The Richer.
Z Berg’s voice is perhaps the most interesting thing on this disc, as there seems to be a hint of an accent that really adds something to the inflection of the words. This distinctive accent really allows the band to depart from the Tegan and Sara / Yeah Yeah Yeahs-led dominance of alternative rock, permitting The Like to come up with a fairly sedate and always interesting brand of alt-rock. The operatic vocals that sneak onto “Once Things Look Up” really multiply the effects of the echoing guitars on this track. “Once Things Look Up” thus has two things going for it: first off, it has a “wall of sound” that is so dense that it will make listeners take notice, and that this wall of sound does not force The Like to drop their nuanced instrumentation.
Not content with letting the disc grind to a halt in the later stages of “Are You Thinking”, The Like jazz up the penultimate track “Falling Away” with a bass line that is more reminiscent of a disco track than anything. This willingness to not harden into one specific sound (while still having some semblance of cohesion between tracks) delineates The Like from a number of current acts. While this may be their first official full-length, The Like have shown time and time again on “Are You Thinking” that they are deserving of their fame, their tours with Phantom Planet and the like (hah!) and their future fame. Just wait a few months and chances are (if there is any justice in the world) that The Like will have taken their spots as darlings of the indie scene, most more rightfully than the brain-dead two-chord rock of The White Stripes or the clichéd arrangements of Fall Out Boy.
Top Tracks: Falling Away, June Gloom
The Like – Are You Thinking What I’m Thinking? / 2005 Geffen / 13 Tracks / http://www.ilikethelike.com / http://www.geffen.com / Reviewed 11 August 2005