A Slice of Fried Gold

Music Mondays

Monday, March 9, 2009

Recommendation: The Boy Least Likely To - The Law of the Playground

A little while back, Hannah and I co-created a new genre of music. We titled it "precious pop," and it fits all kinds of artists. At it's best, it's twee pop music that captures the heart of the listener, and it's side effects include effortless singalongs and endlessly tapping toes. Good examples of this genre include Dr. Dog (the inspiration), Jens Lekman (the grand chairman of the genre), and perhaps the most precious of these pop stars, the Boy Least Likely To.

This band is a duo from the United Kingdom, and on their 2005 debut the Best Party Ever they completely surprised me with their infectious cuteness and instantly hummable tracks. That album was laden with pop delights like quasi-hit "Be Gentle With Me" and true delight "I'm Glad I Hitched My Apple Wagon to Your Cart," but after that album they managed to disappear until now, with their new album the Law of the Playground being released today.

You'd think after such a long delay they'd be a tad rusty perhaps, but you wouldn't know if from the album they produced, as it infectious and addictive just like their last album, perhaps even a little more immediately moreso. Why do I say that? Because I did that horrible, horrible thing I do every time I get a new album and listen to it to a disgusting degree. It's good for two reasons I suppose: you quickly find out what works and what doesn't, and you find out the replay value of the album.

So what works for this album?

While their previous album may have achieved higher peaks than this album, the new album is more immediately pleasing, accessible, and consistently quality. Also, at some points the precious aspect would overtake the pop part, making it so saccharine it'd be hard to get into. This album tones it down a notch, and it's better for it. It's still extremely fun, but it avoids some of the pitfalls of being so damn cute. As per usual, vocalist Jof Owen does a great job, but multi-instrumentalist Pete Hobbs really is the star here. The banjos, glockenspiels, fiddles, and xylophones really add to sound, and make this band extremely unique and add to the fun vibe.

However, that leads into the main problem of the album - it's a tad forgettable so far. The Best Party Ever was layered with tracks that would stay in your mind for hours afterwards, and so far very few of the tracks stick with me. As soon as I turn the album back on, I get back to humming along and enjoying it, but it's just not that memorable.

Besides that, there isn't a lot wrong with this album. It's a dreamy and fun album that's perfect for these dark and dismal times. It's definitely mood music, and something that can wear thin after a while (as most albums in Hannah and I's favorite genre can), but it is a high quality addition to the world of precious pop.

At the very least, you have to appreciate a band who was described by Rolling Stone as what would happen "if all your childhood stuffed animals got together and started a band."

The Boy Least Likely To - the Law of the Playground: B

Track to check out:

Silversun Pickups awesome new song "Panic Switch" at Stereogum.


att said...

Hello from the Alamo!

Patty said...

That would be Patty!! Sorry about that.

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