Friday, December 16, 2005

Albums Of The Year: Number 16

The Boy Least Likely To have just been on tour with James Blunt, according to their blog "because I thought it would be funny". They were nominated by their label for the Smash Hits One To Watch award and finished a close second to major label post-Coldplay knockoffs Kubb. After releasing The Best Party Ever on their own label, they've signed to a label which also houses Bananarama and may or may not have a Simon Fuller involvement. Their album is being lined up for proper promotion in a couple of months. You will hate them by this time next year.

One of the best received compilations of last year was Rough Trade's Indiepop 1. The previous Rough Trade 2CD various artist efforts had dealt in far more worthy genres, but there was something about the scrappy, often purposefully naive, homemade sounding songs that made up a decent proportion of the tracklisting (oh, and it had our title song as the final track). It's that spirit that Jof and Pete have sought to recreate here, employing a phalanx of music classroom instruments and purposefully lo-fi recording facilities but preferring melodies and innocence to what seems to be regarded as indie now. Tracks called Warm Panda Cola, I See Spiders When I Close My Eyes and I'm Glad I Hitched My Apple Wagon To Your Star may make stronger men grind their teeth in anger, but there's real pop classicism, not in the Paul Weller sense but that of people who had the Smile bootlegs well before the live renaissance and would have slipped into the mainstream around 1981 or the Jimmy Webb West Coast scene perfectly, while never quite disabusing the idea that there's a fragile darker core. It sounds terrible in December, but if you're considering a picnic in the woods next July you'll go a long way before finding better accompaniment.

LISTEN IN: Be Gentle With Me
EXTRA FEATURE: The band's blog is fine but irregularly updated, so while you're waiting delve into their psyches, and read an explanation of Panda Cola, on their Pitchfork interview


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