Last Secrets runs about ten minutes longer than the two previous records released by the Like Young. That doesn’t sound like a huge difference, but it’s almost an extra minute on each of the album’s thirteen songs. And for a band that has made its mark with short and concise power-pop songs, an extra minute could make it or break it.
Fortunately, instead of using this extra space for useless filler or annoying interludes, the members of the Like Young — Amanda Ziemba and her husband Joe — have grown into it. The songs are given more room to fully explore the emotions that fill the members’ voices, and the music is fleshed out to portray portraits of moments in the married couple’s life.
The band is often compared to the White Stripes (because the Like Young also fits into the two-person garage-rock profile) and Mates of State (because both bands are duos made up of married couples, and also because the Like Young is now on Mates of State’s previous label, Polyvinyl). But Last Secrets fits more comfortably alongside work by bands such as the Pixies and early Weezer and is at times is reminiscent of Interpol and Criteria. The solid songwriting on the album should distance the Like Young from such feeble comparisons and allow broader opinions to be made.
· “Writhe Like You Mean It,” with Amanda’s wonderful voice layered on top of one of Joe’s driving garage riffs, especially when she sings, “Don’t you break your word again/ I’ve memorized where you live.”
· “Almost Said Yes,” because of the nearly perfect garage-rock song structuring, with synthesizers and Amanda’s voice all breaking up any preconceived notions of the limitations of this genre. The line “I’ll be this or die” is hard not to relate to the couple’s decision to quit their day jobs and sell their home to tour as much as possible to support their 2004 record, So Serious.
· “Obviously Desperate,” for knowing exactly when to transfer from the Interpol-esque introduction and into the Pixies-paced verse.
To be honest, I could go on about a number of the songs, especially the closer, “Inner Fantasies.” The album is remarkable for its ability to allow darkness to slip into mostly up-tempo indie rock (and I do mean rock, not pop) without compromising itself or its integrity. Very few records have reminded me of myself at age seventeen, reading Sylvia Plath (yes, it’s true) and listening to the Pixies and the Clash (usually “Lost in the Supermarket”) without removing the person I have come to be from the picture. Last Secrets has done just that.
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