Review: The Like - "Release Me"
In 2001 Elvis Costello drummer Pete Thomas and producer Mitchell Froom heard that the 15-year-old daughter of Geffen Records exec Tony Berg was writing songs and hoped to start a band. Thomas and Froom got their own daughters in touch with Elizabeth "Z" Berg, and they became The Like. Naturally, with such lineage, the hype machine went into high gear. They released three indie EPs in as many years, toured with Kings of Leon and Muse, were featured in Rolling Stone and signed to Geffen (natch) in 2004. Their first full-length, Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking?, was released in 2005 to mixed reviews. People sniped about the connections, sales were slow and the label shelved the follow-up album. Froom left the band, an organist was added, and the band tapped Amy Winehouse producer Mark Ronson to work on Release Me. Ronson asked Sharon Jones' band the Dap-Kings to lend a hand, and quicker than you could say "rehab" he helped the band transform itself from a rather ordinary indie power pop band into a gritty blend of '60s girl group garage sounds and Blondie-fied '80s new wave. The songs are sassy, catchy and fun and the songwriting is way beyond good. The sunny vibe and happy harmonies mask the often-dark lyrics throughout Release Me, which surface in full glory on the opening song, "Wishing He Was Dead" ("If I could kick his head in, fickle little boyfriend, I'd be satisfied ... If I could snap that neck, that broken record trainwreck I might feel okay"). Release Me and the upcoming Best Coast full-length are the summer records of 2010. Put 'em in your boom box next time you hit Alki or Golden Gardens and let the sunshine in.