The Boy Least Likely To

The Best Party Ever

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The Boy Least Likely To is just about the sweetest, twee-est band to come down the pipe since Up with People. The ultra-cute and peppy sound of their debut album, The Best Party Ever, which is housed in a cover that looks like it was rejected as too sweet for their fan base by the demons who produce Barney, sounds as if it could be the worst nightmare of long-haired rockers and dour indie types alike. If the banjos won't get them, maybe the glockenspiel, clippity-clop percussion sounds, glee club handclaps, or too-sensitive-for-Pepsodent lyrics will. Certainly the flutes and cheesy synths that pop up like snipers will leave few rockers standing. And there is no doubt at all that the ghosts of Talulah Gosh, early Pastels, and Television Personalities are not the first that a self-respecting musicologist would conjure up at a name-checking séance. Of course, if you are able to cast aside any need for your music to be important or weighty, and the aforementioned bands sound like your idea of a good time, then the Boy Least Likely To will likely be your idea of the soundtrack to the best party ever. From the transcendentally sweet and light opening notes of "Be Gentle to Me," The Best Party Ever is an unremitting ramble through a springtime garden, hand in hand with the sound of innocence and cloaked in gentle melancholy. There isn't a single gray shade in their sonic paint box, and even though many of the songs' lyrics deal with intimate fears and low levels of sadness, the overall skies are sunny and clear. Everything on the record works, from the clear and simple vocals and vocal harmonies and the toy town instrumentation, to the songwriting that both refers to past sunshine pop, indie pop, and just plain pop tunes but puts its own very now slant on them. "Hugging My Grudge" is the moment of genius that almost, but not quite, towers over the record. Unspooling like a follow-up to "Everybody's Talking," the song's embrace of sadness and failure is sad, but the radiant harmonies and bubbling synths lift the song out of the murk and give the listener a fragile hope that may fade once the song is over, but, hey, that's what the repeat button is for. The Best Party Ever is a low-key work of peaceful beauty unrivaled by anything in 2006, except maybe Jim Noir's Tower of Love. The two records share a wide-eyed simplicity and bedroom grandeur that just doesn't come along too often, and if you believe in the power of indie pop music to fill your life and heart with untrammeled joy, these are two records that will bolster that belief and send you out into the cold streets with a smile on your soul.

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