Monday, September 8, 2014

The dB's - Like This

This week (September 12th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Like This, the third studio album from the American jangle pop band the dB’s. With founders hailing from Winston-Salem, NC, the group was formed in New York City in the late 1970’s. Performing on this one were Peter Holsapple (guitar and vocals), Gene Holder (bass) and Will Rigby (drums), with additional support from Mark Tomeo (pedal steel guitar), Patrick Irwin (keyboards) and Rick Wagner (keyboards).

Side one begins with “Love Is For Lovers”, the album’s first single. The up-tempo tune questions the nature of love and whether it is something that everyone can experience.

“She Got Soul” has a snappy swing to its rhythm that gets my toes-a-tapping.

“Spitting in the Wind” expresses a frustration with the futility of things in life.

“Lonely Is (as Lonely Does)” slows things down a bit for a more reflective lyric. I particularly like the lilting synth arrangements that compliment this one.

“Not Cool” has a 60’s Rolling Stones vibe to it with both the guitars and the vocal inflections.

“Amplifier” features a mid-tempo bouncing beat that counters the song’s darker side of depression. I like the guitar work on this one; it is easily my favorite track of the first side of this album.

Side two starts with “A Spy in the House of Love”; the 2006 CD release of the album included the twelve-inch extended remix of this single. Drummer Rigby gets a chance to take the center stage on this funky dance track.

“Rendezvous” shows the band’s Southern roots with this song about heading down to Memphis for a secretive meeting. It has a very gritty, blue-inspired grind to it.

“New Gun in Town” brings to mind 60’s surf-rock with its rapid-fire rhythms, complete with a ratta-tat-tat on the chorus.

The band takes things down to a somber place with “On the Battlefront”.

The original vinyl release closes with “White Train”, a rousing number about death and the afterlife.

The 2006 CD release also included “Darby Hall”, the B-side to the first single.

Thanks to Spotify, I was able to listen to Like This for this review. I am pretty certain this was first exposure to the dB’s or, at the very least, the first time I’ve heard one of their albums from start to finish. I enjoyed it a lot, enough to add it to my “to-buy” list in the future. If you are a fan of groups like Big Star or the Replacements, you might want to give this one a spin.

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