by Luke Baumgarten & r & The Like (Charlotte Froom, Tennessee Thomas and Z. Berg) are the collected brood of some pretty big industry names: producer Mitchell Froom, drummer Pete Thomas (who backed Elvis Costello) and Tony Berg, a prominent A & amp;R rep.
Recently out of high school, and immediately signed to Berg's Geffen Records, the Like nonetheless exude a late-'60s earthiness that belies their years and pedigree. But don't let their granola dress fool you. They're really more like Kellogg's Mueslix, a fatty, crunchy power pop trio that has been nicely packaged and perfectly branded for their target demographic. Weird thing is, that demographic seems to be everybody. Touring with both Maroon 5 and Kings of Leon suggests a broad focus by itself. Capturing the desirable everyone of all ages set would be quite a marketing coup if they pull it off.
They've certainly thrown themselves into the task with their newest album. Major label debut, "Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking?" (not to be confused with the Tory campaign slogan) is a clinically fascinating disc running through a bizarre set of genre inflections, from grunge to (Irish girl) arena rock and everything in between. Seriously. There's the usual, too, of course. The two-and-a-half chords of "What I Say and What I Mean" evoke just about every early American punk band ever. That's probably what helped them ace hipster darlings Antony and the Johnsons in a recent Yahoo! Music online battle, though it didn't hurt that Antony's molasses balladry and gender-reassignment themes don't much appeal to a base as broad as Yahoo! Music's. That doesn't mean, though, that the Like themselves are ignoring the GLBT set. "Bridge to Nowhere" is a spot-on Tegan and Sara-esque mope ballad. On "Under the Paving Stones," Berg's voice takes on a strange, husky Irish lilt, even squaring their sites on the decidedly unhip Cranberries fans out there.
The Like try to offer little bits of something for everyone, though how well they succeed will depend on your taste for things you've heard before. If you're at the show for your 10-year-old, though, you'll at least be able to close your eyes for one song and imagine you're still standing in Wembly, mid-'90s style, nodding your head to "Zombie."
The Like at Fat Tuesday's on Friday, Dec. 9, at 7 pm. Tickets: $10. Visit www.ticketswest.com or call 325-SEAT.