In a word: classic

Nov 16, 2005 at 12:00 am

From the neo-Phil Spector production touches to the reverb-soaked British Invasion-styled guitars to the lush Everly Brothers-esque vocal harmonies, Like Her is a classic pop album from start to finish. Maybe reviewers will finally retire the term “alt-country” from their Volebeats vocabularies. (Granted, the band didn’t help its case by titling — jokingly — its last album, a covers-heavy collection of rock, pop and psych, Country Favorites.) In fact, in both sonic and stylistic terms, Like Her’s lineage can be traced directly back to the Flamin’ Groovies’ 1976 platter Shake Some Action, a power-pop touchstone of no small regard. The lovelorn vibe and guitar-vocal arrangement of “Here It Comes Again,” for example, recalls Shake Some’s “You Tore Me Down,” right down to the closing chord (and don’t miss the aforementioned Spector-esque flourishes, particularly the castanets and symphonic bass drum). The buoyant Byrdsian jangle that infuses “This Girl” makes the tune a close cousin to the Groovies’ “I Can’t Hide,” and knowing that the Groovies and their Shake Some producer, Dave Edmunds, were huge Everly Brothers fans makes the harmony-rich “Everytime” (co-written by the Voles’ Jeff Oakes and Matthew Smith with Ryan Adams) and “September Spell” go down that much sweeter. Will pop fans some two decades’ hence cite the Volebeats as a seminal act of its era the same way Groovies acolytes regard their heroes? Hard to say; the landscape’s a lot more littered in 2005 than it was in 1976. But I do guarantee that Like Her will only get better with time.

Fred Mills writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].