The Boy Least Likely To – [Album]

Wednesday, 06 May 2009

I can’t help but imagine animated cartoons in vivid detail while listening to The Boy Least Likely To. Each song on The Law of the Playground paints bittersweet images for the listener, and evokes a nostalgia that turns back to folksy songs from your younger years. But these stories aren't for kids, and the album isn’t all child’s play. Even though Law does employ cute phrases like “shooby doo” and “tra la la,” and revolves childish subjects like worms, butterflies, balloons and a penny whistle-playing cat named Whiskers, there are sad and lonely undertones hidden beneath these whimsical, twee-pop melodies. After a few listens you realize these imaginative stories are meant for an adult audience.

This anticipated album is the follow-up to the English duo’s 2005 album, The Best Party Ever. Their sophomore effort follows many of the themes you would expect from lyricist Jof Owens and instrumentalist Pete Hobbs. There are the themes of anxiety, fear, feeling left out and a bit of hopeless romanticism. On this album, songs tell tales for the misfit who prepares to cope with the obstacles the big world hands them while they grasp onto any ounce of optimism (see “The Boy with Two Hearts," “Saddle Up," “When Life Gives Me Lemons I Make Lemonade”). One of the highlight tracks on this album is “A Balloon on A Broken String.” With lines in the song like; “I know I look shiny and bouncy/but I’m all empty inside, And I worry that if I just burst suddenly then nobody would even notice me,” you know these songs are a magical blend youthful imagery and a darker world filled isolation and fear. Other highlights on the album include the simple acoustic guitar track “The Worm Against the Plough,” the upbeat anthem “Every Goliath Has His David," and the ever-so-catchy “I Keep Myself to Myself.” From the lyrical imagery to the many folksy instruments used to create charming harmonies and melodies, these are musical fairytales for grownups still growing up.

The Law of the Playground declares in the opening track, “I know there is a big scary world out there just waiting for me.” And that scary world enjoys reminding us of just how scary things can be. It can be a world full of Goliaths trying to keep you down, but luckily for us, albums like this are breath of fresh air for those of us who try to remain positive, brave, and hopeful. Just like The Boy Least Likely To we may be the little man, but when life gives us lemons, we will continue to try and make lemonade.


The Law of the Playground is out now. Buy it on Amazon.


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