When power-pop pioneers the dB's lost founder Chris Stamey in 1982, fans figured the band was finished after just two albums, the genre cornerstones Stands for deciBels and Repercussion. Yet as 1984's Like This shows, the remaining three members -- guitarist/vocalist Peter Holsapple, bassist Gene Holder and drummer Will Rigby -- weren't done yet.
Certain elements of the record date it slightly -- Chris (Waitresses) Butler's production, while obviously intended to cast a commercial sheen, is too reverb- and sibilance-heavy, not to mention some gimmicky percussion and synth effects. Overall, though, Like This is every bit as memorable as its predecessors. It's frontloaded with muscular playing and inventive arrangements and boasts some of Holsapple's wittiest, most erudite lyrical examinations of the Venus-Mars condition ever.
The record kicks off with insta-anthem "Love Is for Lovers," a soaring slice of pop pulchritude descended from "September Gurls," "Do You Believe In Magic?" and "Don't Fear the Reaper" (check the guitar break). From there the coulda/shoulda-been-hits pile up: "She Got Soul," a spangly rocker that nods to the Yardbirds' "Heart Full of Soul"; the funky, blackly humorous "Amplifier," wherein suicide meets solid state gear; "Rendezvous," a Nuggets-goes-Memphis soul stomp; and an upbeat country-gospel twanger, "White Train," featuring a vocal duet between Holsapple and Rigby.
As with Collectors' Choice's 2001 two-fer CD reissue of the Stamey-era albums, Like This comes with extensive liner notes by journalist Scott Schinder. It also includes non-LP bonus tracks "Darby Hall" and an extended dance mix of "A Spy in the House of Love." And the fresh remastering job means you get to hear all those great period studio effects crackling forth like an "I Love the '80s" segment! (Just kidding.) FYI: The reunited dB's have a new album due sometime this year.
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