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Worth buying for June Gloom alone
on 19 April 2007
I have vague memories of seeing this irritatingly pretty band on some televised rock festival playing What I Say and What I Mean? (track two here). I bought this album the next day because a) I liked the song and b) I hadn't bought an album in a while. Much more vivid are my recollections of listening to opener June Gloom; about two seconds in, I thought I had made a mistake; by the track's end, I was firmly convinced otherwise.
The next track was the aforementioned What I Say... which sounded as good as I had remembered. After that...well, it all goes a little bit soft.
It's not that the next ten songs are particularly bad, they're just slightly non-descript, samey efforts, clever and pleasant enough but hardly essential, and certainly not up to the standard of the first two. And there's ten of 'em.
Track 13, Waves That Never Break, comes as a real breath of fresh air - nowhere near as instant as the openers, more of a grower, which is no bad thing. Finally, bonus track One Step Ahead feels much more like it should be playing somewhere in the middle of a stronger all-round album. Overall, Are You Thinking... isn't quite there, but it gets a 3.5 star score from me (rounded down after careful consideration), which is better than the majority of debuts.
The Like are a band with many advantages - singer Z Berg has a beautiful voice, the guitar and bass play off each other nicely and they look so very, very pretty. Most importantly, they're capable of writing damn good songs. Like I said, this album isn't quite what I assume they're aiming for, but there's hope for them yet.