In 2005, The Boy Least Likely To unleashed The Best Party Ever, an expertly crafted twee pop album filled with child-like imagery (see “Warm Panda Cola,” “I See Spiders When I Close My Eyes,” “My Tiger My Heart”). The same could be said for the album’s follow up, 2009’s Law of the Playground. Besides the adorable title, the album contained songs like “A Balloon On A Broken String,” “I Box Up All The Butterflies,” and “Whiskers.” Now comes the band’s third album, The Great Perhaps. As you might be able to tell from the title, it is the least fun Boy Least Likely To album yet.
In the early years, xylophones, banjos, and acoustic guitars were the staple of the band. On The Great Perhaps, those instruments largely take a backseat to retro synthesizers and electronic drums. Opening track “I Keep Falling In Love With You Again” sounds like a cheesy 80s synth pop track in vein of Men Without Hats. The second song on the album, “My Little Heart That Remembers Everything,” features a little more of the traditional instruments fans are used to from Boy Least Likely To. A strong lead guitar line carries the melody with a four-on-the-floor kick drum keeping the time. Of course the drum beat is accentuated with spitting synths and the chorus sees the synths take an even larger role.
Even when Boy Least Likely To get back to their fun instrumentation ways, the lyrics sadly lack any insouciance of previous lyrics. “Lonely Alone” features beautiful acoustic guitar arpeggios mirrored by xylophone but lyrics like “its not until you’re in love that you know you’re going to die” and “there is a sadness to love/knowing one of you will go before the other one does” betray the entire mood of the song. Similarly, “Lucky to Be Alive” features acoustic guitar strumming and live drums with synth accents. The instrumental is fun but the lyrics are definitively not with the chorus of the song being “maybe its knowing I’m gonna die that I feel like I could cry when I look into your eyes.” Its true that bands like Los Campesinos have long mixed twee pop with darker lyrics but never anything this depressing.
In the end, lead singer/songwriter Jof’s obsession with death taints the entire album. It takes a band that used to make music to help listeners forget their problems and makes them a band who is reminding people that life is meaningless and fleeting. I would rather get that sobering message from my favorite existential philosopher not from a twee pop band.
MP3: The Boy Least Likely To “Lonely Alone”