The Boy Least Likely To
The Best Party Ever
Rough Trade/Too Young to Die
If there really is such a thing as a "grup" movement—for those lucky enough to have avoided the internet's virulent slang machine, that's the new class of kickball-playing, video-gaming, WB-watching young adults who refuse to turn into their parents—then the soundtrack to their Pan-ish lives would be full of what the British press has termed "twee." That's more slang, a contraction of "tiny" and "wee" describing pop songs that are super-sweet, almost to the point of absurdity. As such, most bands that carry the label do so unwillingly (see Belle and Sebastian), yet garner indie accolades often for nothing more than their very twee-ness. In other words, between the swooning fans and the bubbly bands they adore lies one big, sugary vacuum.
Consider it filled (at least partially) by the Boy Least Likely To, a duo from Buckinghamshire, England, who hoist their twee pop banner with the pride of grade school soccer champs. The proof is in their debut album The Best Party Ever, the very cover of which shows a collection of cartoon animals who would look more at home in the Hundred Acre Woods than on a grown-up record. Inside, the disconnect is played out in full, with bubblegum glockenspiel and recorder melodies humming along to all-too adult themes: drugs, guns, and depression. The effect is both rattling and charming, as on their anthem to neuroses, "I See Spiders When I Close My Eyes": "I've got nothing to worry about," sings lyricist Jof Owen, "So I worry about nothing/I won't buy grapes/I check the sell-by dates/And I only eat fruit out of tins."
The Best Party Ever opens timidly, with Owen cooing, "I'm mental, so be gentle with me," and ends with a bittersweet confession: "We don't want to grow old, but we have to grow up," he sighs, and adds with the reflected syntax of a toddler, "As sad as I am, I do understand/I do understand, it just makes me sad." In between, the Boy Least Likely To catalogue the reasons they don't want to grow up, usually with Toys "R" Us instruments, varying between "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" beats and what they jokingly call their "country disco" sound. To hear Owen sing it, the "best party ever" is apparently the one that precedes the apocalypse. Paranoia has never sounded so cute.