Review: The Boy Least Likely To – The Great Perhaps
Published on April 27th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
In our recent interview, The Boy Least Likely To front man Jof Owen attributed the abundance of synth on their third album The Great Perhaps to its “cold, spacey” sound, a notion clearly reflected by the album artwork. We beg to differ, though: some of the playfulness may have been reined in but TBLLT still sound not so much sun-kissed as sun-third-based, however unnecessarily crass that might be for a review of such a cuddly band.
Those synths glow benevolently alongside Owen’s ever-agreeable vocal on opener “I Keep Falling in Love With You Again”, occasionally swirling up for added cosmic effect and teeing up “My Little Heart That Remembers Everything” to ramp up the digi-twee with a nice, plinky keyboard riff in the chorus followed by some welcome wibbly bleepery. Unfailingly breezy melodies and two-part harmonies remain pleasingly intact, while the lyrics thus far are kept simple and heartfelt.
There’s a touch of Belle and Sebastian about the Don Quixote-referencing “Taking Windmills for Giants”, more sunnily disposed pop for the sweet of tooth with cartoony synth squiggles and memorable lines like “I might be leaving you / But I’ll be leaving you happy”, while the harp strokes of “Lonely Alone” bring about a welcome change of scene into twinkly sophistication.
“Even Jesus Couldn’t Mend My Broken Heart” is a loveably silly jam with a chorus of Kraftwerk-inspired Gameboys and such characteristically silly/fragile lyricism as “It hasn’t got instructions / I don’t know where to start / I’m going to try and fix it / By taking it apart”, Owen’s strong form as an uncomplicated yet affecting wordsmith further evidenced by “I often think of Michael Collins sitting in Columbia / I wonder if anyone on Earth was ever lonelier” in the elegant, stringswept ode to the titular astronaut that is “Michael Collins”.
The theme implicit in the album’s title finds an outlet in the form of “It Could’ve Been Me”, a tale of being too shy to admit to a crush on someone at high school and a duet with the gorgeous voice of Gwenno Saunders of The Pipette. Think Magic Numbers, Cardigans, C86; there’s even a “tra la la la” refrain in case you required another spoonful of sugar to help the bittersweet medicine go down.
Basically, if Grandaddy were more sensitive and bookish – heck, more English (Grandad?) – they might sound a bit like this. The Great Perhaps is no great innovator but it is nevertheless a delightful touching up of an already-lovely signature sound.
Rocksucker says: Three and a Half Quails out of Five!