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Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking? by The Like

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Reviewed on 21st May 2006.

 
 

Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking?

By The Like

The Like are three extremely photogenic waiflike females who make self-confessed indie-pop.  Unfortunately, their reliance on their own aesthetic appeal means the actual quality of the music falls by the wayside. They appear to have the current music market's selling techniques honed to perfection; realising that image is of the utmost importance in today's music scene, and all three are undeniably beautiful. Yet in comparison to their striking appearances their music is pallid, bland and safe.

Their inoffensive melodies are perfectly palatable until you reach the third track and realise that rather than your CD player being stuck on repeat, this is actually meant to be a new song.  This is disappointing as the opening to the majority of the songs on the album 'Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking?' appear promising. 'June Gloom' confidently introduces the album with its driving drum beat and subtle vocal work until you reach the chorus which instead of encapsulating all these elements in a climatic outpour, spectacularly fizzles out leaving you with a sense of deflated anticipation. It is as if they have reached the brink of completely letting go and suddenly shy away in favour of the safer, more marketable, option.

Similarly 'Under The Paving Stones' opens with ska-esque guitar work, refreshingly different from the previous however many tracks washed over with endlessly strumming guitars, yet this unique syncopation is soon shoved into the background by the singer's droning angst.

Second song 'What I Say and What I Mean' has the most single potential out of the selection with a strong, memorable chorus. Here appears to be the only point in the album where they really let go and thrash out some good old girl band squalling. The adolescent angst is obvious just through a quick glance at the track listing with titles such as 'You Bring Me Down', 'We Are Lost', 'Once Things Look Up' yet the melancholia is lost, replaced by a sweeping insincerity through the album's glossy production; this is misery for the masses, spruced up and given a pretty face to increase its popular appeal.

All three are talented musicians and judging by their music alone there is obvious potential for the group however the vocals grate. The sickly sweet voice plods on through each track with little variation. You expect her to break out into a roar at any moment but she never hits this point, always careful to keep her composure, and her pout, intact.

They're a soft core version of Sleater-Kinney with their perfectly harmless, melodic pop songs. Accordingly both Phantom Planet and Maroon 5 have used them as support act on recent tours. They encapsulate the relatively new phenomenon of pop rock. They are Avril Lavigne times three yet something tells me that wouldn't approve of the comparison. This is where their biggest problem lies as they seem unsure of their own identity slipping between pop and sedate rock. Their website does little to reconcile this identity crisis, describing the drums as 'simple and classic while totally unique and idiosyncratic'. This statement is so contradictory that it fails to make any sense whatsoever. It all seems slightly lack-lustre; there's no indication of a passion for the music or even a fondness, just an ambivalence that while suits their teenage image doesn't do much in the way of promoting their songs. If they sound bored performing them than why do they expect us to enjoy listening to them?

 

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