There’s always been a joyous innocence to The Boy Least Likely To, concerns of love, longing, looking at the world through a curious and eccentric lens has been their thing. So for this ‘Greatest Hits’ album, it’s indie mixed with rock n’ roll, country, disco, funk, and an attempt to pull together their best songs over the last fifteen years. What I’ve always liked about the Boy Least Likely To is their wide eyed childlike innocence and optimism in their songwriting – they sound like they could be on their own kids TV show, I’d like to think of them living in one big house, getting up, writing songs, having adventures. They’ve often been compared to Belle and Sebastian and they’re probably the closest in terms of musical exuberance, but TBLLT definitely have their own take on indie-pop bounciness. Several songs throughout their album have an almost disco style rhythm nestling under the tales of love lost, and won. ‘It Could’ve Been Me’ sounds like it’s emerged straight from some sort of bizarre musical, with vocals between front man Jof Owen and guest vocalist Gwenno harmonising above the big pop sound, whereas ‘Monsters’ tells a tale of friends Owen used to know, moving on with life and trying to tell him how much better their lives are than his. ‘A Balloon On A Broken String’ tells a sad tale of feeling low and invisible, whereas ‘Hugging My Grudge’ has more in common with Dylan, with its shuffling folk rhythms and harmonicas. Then there’s the brilliant cover of ‘Faith’, the George Michael song, which resembles more of a camp fire singalong with its guitars and recorders! Then there’s the brilliantly titled,  ‘ When Life Gives Me Lemons I Make Lemonade’ with Owen singing “I’ve always got my head in the clouds, hoping that I can find, one of them that’s silver lined”, showing his eternal optimistic side and it’s a phrase that sums up TBLLT perfectly, set against violins and stomping country beats. Then there’s the brilliant ‘George And Andrew’, an imaginary meeting between the two Wham! members at Xmas, in a pub with Andrew asking George if he regrets going solo as they catch-up over a few pints on Xmas eve, like an alternative version of the ‘Last Christmas’ video. They’re the kind of band you put on if you want a big musical hug, it’s the audio equivalent of snuggling up in a duvet on a cold winter’s day. In a turbulent world, we need bands like this as a form of pure joyous escapism.

The Boy Least Likely To: Greatest Hits  – Out Now (Young & Stupid Records)

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From the early days of creating handmade zines, in a DIY paper and glue style, interviewing bands around town, then pestering Piccadilly Records to sell them, to writing for various independent mags such as Chimp and Ablaze, writing about the music I love is still a great passion. After testing the music industry waters in London with stints at various labels, being back in my hometown again, writing about this city’s vibrant music scene is as exciting as ever. All time favourite bands include Sonic Youth, Nick Cave, Patti Smith although anything from electro to folk via blues and pysch rock will also do nicely too. A great album, is simply a great album, regardless of whatever musical cage you put it in.