Earlier this year I was lucky enough to get a ticket to see Patti Smith in Sheffield. I’ve been a fan of Patti for a long time mainly because she wrote one of all time favourite songs ‘Piss Factory’. As a study of determination and longing to gain control over ones life, it’s a masterpiece. As a harmonious marriage of lyrics and music, it’s sublime. I also thought it was the female counterpart to Bowie’s Star’ from the Ziggy Stardust LP, but, for no other reason than they both end with the line ‘Watch me now’, but I'm probably alone in thinking that. Sadly Patti didn’t play Piss Factory on that cold night in March, but the concert was no less enjoyable. Over the years she’s accumulated a canon of great songs which still amaze with their depth of feeling. I only mention this because last Friday at the Ruby Lounge, I watched four young women, whose world-view couldn’t more different to Patti Smith’s, deliver a breathless set to a packed crowd.
Two thousand and ten has been a year for all-girl or girl fronted bands. New York’s Vivian Girls have gone from strength to strength, while California’s Warpaint, Civet and Best Coast have all released well received CDs. However what appears to link these bands is a similar lyrical content. In common with these bands, the majority of the Like’s songs have as their core subject that hardy perennial, boy trouble. It must be a real problem being a pretty girl and having to fend off a constant barrage of male interest, though you’d think that with such a large pool of suitors to choose from it would be relatively easy to pick a winner. But unfortunately for The Like that doesn’t seem to be the case because nearly all their relationships either end in disaster or are just plane disastrous from start to finish. Perhaps this is the role that’s ascribed to modern women nowadays; to be constantly wronged by a boyfriend or whatever, so that life’s just a tired catalogue of fitful reactions to circumstances beyond ones control. Circumstances more-often-than-not caused by, yep, you guessed it, men. While I concede that relationships are important and have gravity, there are other topics open for discussion and widening the scope of ones song writing might not be such a bad idea.
None of this matters however to crowd that gathered to The Like and for the thirty minutes they’re up on stage they keep the crowd enthralled Most of the songs come from their new album, the Mark Ronson produced ‘Release Me’ and it’s enjoyably straightforward and likable stuff. The template is sugar coated 60’s pop so if you’re a fan of that kind of thing and you’re into failed infatuation, then I’m sure The Like are for you.
The Like have a new CD out now called ‘Release Me’