Margaret Sohn, the inventive, incisive singer-songwriter who performs as Miss Grit, is the kind of guitarist you might affectionately call a “tone nerd.” Sohn (they/she) studied music technology at New York University, and while doing press for Miss Grit’s excellent 2021 EP, Impostor, spoke often about building effects pedals and how, as they put it to Guitar World, a big part of their songwriting process is “just plugging into effects pedals and making weird sounds.”
“Like You,” Miss Grit’s first new music since Impostor (and first since signing to Mute Records), is filled with weird sounds. Not wackadoo weird, but unsettling weird. The lead guitar sounds less like a guitar than a bizarro dial tone — a round, rich, buzzing that Sohn spins into puckish, prickly riffs. The vocals, meanwhile, are meticulously beatific, Sohn layering their voice into harmonies made up of all the right, rapturous notes. And yet the delivery can sometimes feel cool, distant, almost calculated — to say nothing of the uneasy nature of the lyrics themselves: “They want a hold of you to dominate/And I try to abide/So I won’t be denied.”
Exploring uncanny sonic spaces is something Miss Grit excels at even beyond “Like You.” But here, these sounds feel in tune with the thematic inspiration Sohn drew from Alex Garland’s 2014 sci-fi film Ex Machina and the humanoid robot character, Ava, played by Alicia Vikander. Sohn says they had Ava in mind “as the voice I was singing from” while making “Like You,” adding, “Her arc in the movie felt really beautiful to me, and I wanted to reach the same ending as her in this song.” That ending, without getting too spoiler-y, is one of freedom, though not without plenty of pesky complexities about identity and free will.
“Like You” also parses these issues, and ends on a untethered high, driven by some heroic soloing from Sohn, big, bold drums (played by Greg Tock), and a bass (Zoltan Sindhu) that truly thunks like a door-knocker.
There’s a particularly sharp clarity to the final refrain — “Bore new/Everything is see-through/Confused/They might see they’re like you” — which Sohn sings in serene staccato bursts alongside matching synth stabs. But as lucid as the song’s last impression is, the lingering sensation of “Like You” is murkier. It’s what makes you want to run the track back, sink into those weird sounds and restive thoughts once more, and return to that final explosion.