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Boy Least Likely To, The - The Law of the Playground Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.5
Musicianship 8.25
Lyrics 6.75
Production 8.5
Creativity 6.5
Lasting Value 8.25
Reviewer Tilt 9.25
Final Verdict: 80%
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Inside AP.net

Boy Least Likely To, The - The Law of the Playground

Reviewed by: Jeremy Aaron (03/19/09)
The Boy Least Likely To - The Law of the Playground
Record Label: Too Young to Die/+1 Records
Release Date: March 17, 2009

Who?

The Boy Least Likely To are an indie-pop duo from Wendover, England. The Law of the Playground is their second full-length release, following 2005's The Best Party Ever (which saw a 2006 release stateside).

How is it?

If you have an ounce of good-natured spirit in you at all, the Boy Least Likely To is the type of band that you have to try hard not to like. There's not a ragged edge to be found in their amiable baroque-pop style and the sound of their music alone, which is accented with cheery strings and horns, is enough to conjure up images of blue-sky days and fields of flowers and butterflies. Their lyrics, too, reflect a warm-and-fuzzy attitude that seems to be marked by a sense of eternal optimism.

More curmudgeonly types might write this album off as being self-parodying, an attempt simply to make the cutest possible record, regardless of how ridiculous it ends up being. After all, it's true that they do actually sing about butterflies and have a song titled "The Fairytale Ending." Plus, singer Jof Owen, who could be compared to a much less beleaguered Elliott Smith, sounds nothing short of completely content throughout the record. Upon closer inspection, though, there is some depth to be found lying beneath the album's breezy veneer.

On "A Balloon With a Broken String," Owen laments being "sad and alone," but simultaneously compares his freedom to "floating away on summer breeze." As listeners, we're frequently overrun with lyrics catastrophizing life's little ups-and-downs, so it's refreshing and uplifting to hear an artist who can recognize the dichotomy of a situation and put the emphasis on the good. Similar sentiment can be found on the (admittedly cliched) "When Life Hands Me Lemons, I Make Lemonade." It's ironic that The Law of the Playground emits the carefree, childlike aura suggested in its title, as well as the wisdom to accept life's challenges for what they are and roll with the punches.

Without question, there are occasions when most of us need a good downer record to wallow in our own misery, and Owen's happy-go-lucky lyrics and multi-instrumentalist Pete Hobbs' sprightly compositions would be of no help in such situations. It's either a world they don't understand, or at least one they're not into writing about. However, for a bright and sunny March day, The Law of the Playground is sure to put some spring in your step.

Recommended If You LikeThe Shins' Oh, Inverted World!
The Decemberists' Picaresque
Noah and the Whale's Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down
The Helio Sequence's Love and Distance
Peter Bjorn and John's Writer's Block


Check out the Boy Least Likely To on Myspace.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 15.
03:24 PM on 03/19/09
#2
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
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Um, they are awesome. So glad you reviewed this. I doubt this band will ever become huge on this site, but my God are they not divine.
03:41 PM on 03/19/09
#3
Travis Parno
my sensible heart
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this is pretty cutesy stuff, but i dig it. nice review, jeremy
06:20 AM on 03/20/09
#4
Liter-O-Cola
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Their first album is so good. I can't wait to hear this. Will it even make it to stores here? I had to download The Best Party Ever because I couldn't find it anywhere. Oh, and I never thought I'd see Elliot Smith's name anywhere near a Boy Least Likely To review....talk about complete opposites hahahaha
06:23 AM on 03/20/09
#5
Liter-O-Cola
Is there a ghost in my house?
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Um, they are awesome. So glad you reviewed this. I doubt this band will ever become huge on this site, but my God are they not divine.
If sunshine made music, it would sound like this band.
06:27 AM on 03/20/09
#6
Jeremy Aaron
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Their first album is so good. I can't wait to hear this. Will it even make it to stores here? I had to download The Best Party Ever because I couldn't find it anywhere. Oh, and I never thought I'd see Elliot Smith's name anywhere near a Boy Least Likely To review....talk about complete opposites hahahaha
According to their website, this will see an April 14th U.S. release on CD.

And yeah, while the tone of the music is definitely nothing at all like Elliott Smith's, he and Owen have very similar delicate vocals.
06:33 AM on 03/20/09
#7
Liter-O-Cola
Is there a ghost in my house?
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According to their website, this will see an April 14th U.S. release on CD.

And yeah, while the tone of the music is definitely nothing at all like Elliott Smith's, he and Owen have very similar delicate vocals.
Ya, I can see that...Elliot Smith delicate like a broken heart and Owen delicate like a naive child faced with the big bad world.
07:36 AM on 03/20/09
#8
Broclee
Dude, this is so Inception.
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Good review, I'm excited about this release, I just love the vibe their music gives off.
08:45 AM on 03/20/09
#9
.invisible ink.
honey bunny that's the funny thing
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great review, i'm looking forward to checking it out.
09:47 AM on 03/20/09
SoCoSquid4
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Ya, I can see that...Elliot Smith delicate like a broken heart and Owen delicate like a naive child faced with the big bad world.
Elliott.
09:57 AM on 03/20/09
Liter-O-Cola
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My bad. I own all his albums too, I don't know where that came from haha.

11:12 AM on 03/20/09
fluke182
Burning bicycles for revenge
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Great album, although not as instantly memorable as the Best Party Ever.
11:56 AM on 03/21/09
mortal soldier
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so just be gentle with meeeeeeeeeeeeee

can't wait to pick this up
04:15 AM on 03/23/09
cereal4life
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I found The Best Part Ever way to cheery and cutesy wutesy. I liked the single from that album but as a whole, I just couldn't stomach it; it seemed superficially cute to the point that it kind of annoyed me to listen to it.

Nevertheless, good review and I'll still check this out!
10:27 PM on 03/23/09
jco3
Oh, hello there, internet.
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Whiskers is too cute!!! awwww.

Whiskers, Whiskers, Whiskers!

...yeah I'm done.
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