Now they’re back, and this sense of optimism is embedded in the duo’s glazy-eyed lyrics, such as on new track Climbing Out Of Love, with lines such as “Everyone leave things behind, climbing out of love as you both begin to climb, into the sunlight of love”, and the use of sunny synths and glockenspiel. The same track tells of how there’s “nothing harder than climbing out of love”, which would happily sit beside Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know, this time with added xylophone, yet with TBLLT somehow adding that boundless sense of enthusiasm felt as a child.
These endearing memory jogs abound amongst TBLLT’s output, with lyrics reflecting an idealistic landscape and compiling something of a retrospective of childhood innocence. Take this line, from Taking Wind Mills For Giants: “I guess there can always be rainbows after it rains, I made us miserable by taking windmills from giants.”
However, whilst these youthful allusions have led to the band being labelled with the ‘twee-pop’ brush, this must not be confused with musical immaturity. New offering I Keep Falling In Love With You Again, released as a free download single on Valentine’s Day, is a particularly well-crafted pop song with multiple references, most noticeably to Eastenders, with the opening drum break, but also to Jarvis Cocker and Pulp, and maybe even The Cure, with an infectious chorus and synth riff reminiscent of Common People or even Friday, I’m In Love.
Innocence is carried further forward to My Little Heart That Remembers Everything, which opens with the lyric “My heart is my companion” and climaxes with a chorus detailing how “My heart can sing”. The lyrics remain simplistic, as does the music, but it serves its purpose as a harmless bit of feel-good time well spent. Songs such as My Little Heart call to mind Noah And The Whale’s early output, specifically the chart-topping Five Years’ Time, and to up-and-coming folk stars 5 day riot.
A cynic would criticise the lyrical content and preoccupation of The Boy Least Likely To’s simple songwriting, and their lyrics evocative of the type of loved-up themes reserved for young teenagers. But it is almost impossible not to be won over by this glass-half-full outlook. Even on a dull and wet spring morning, their charm is undeniable.
It opens with the smart 'I Keep Falling In Love With You Again', a free valentines download and first single. “Love is all I can see and all I can see is me and you”, hums Owen over the subtle swirl in a sea of synths fashioned by Hobbs. Its a tone setter. Faintly layered vocals balance expertly with the electronic sounds to create a remarkable blend. Strolling on, 'My Little Heart That Remembers Everything', is a well blossomed piece, reminiscent of some of Soft Hearted Scientists later work.
'Taking Wind Mills For Giants' continues in the same charmful aura. “I guess there can always be rainbows after it rains, I made us miserable by taking windmills from giants”, another brief expose of their reflectionist child like take on life and 'Lonely Alone' develops this further still. Honest as it is reassuring, it offers a light promising loneliness is not forever.
By the time we have had 'Even Jesus Couldn't Mend My Broken Heart', a cross between a youthful less complex Hot Chip and a fruitless Masato Nakamura ode, I was becoming slightly more concerned by tomorrow mornings forecast. My one qualm I guess. It all gets a bit much. The analogue synths and punchy happiness with the bright sun blaring down your throat sometimes, not right now of course, there's nothing wrong with a bit of rain. But TBLLT do answer back by introducing the pulsatingly dynamic 'Climbing Out Of Love” and although the lyrics do assume a similar guise, “Everyone leave things behind climbing out of love as you both begin to climb into the sunlight of love”, you are once again reminded of a mis-spent youth galavanting around school yard playgrounds.
Spurred on by Hobbs's more crushing side 'Michael Collins' is a weary tale of emptiness and room, which is followed by a kiss behind the bike shed duet in 'It Could've Been Me', where Owen's nervous wisp is met by the confidence of his female enchanter. Owen's voice is a strange one really. At times it can be seen as too shy and retiring but ultimately it just adds to the general demeanour of what he is representing. 'The Dreaming Song' reminds me a lot of a cold E.L.O epiphany where vocal layering and neatly intertwined digital sounds meet soothed live instruments to create perhaps the only obvious shard of disdain.
Before bidding us farewell there is time for one last inspiriting message of hope in 'Lucky To Be Alive', where everything 'The Dreaming Song' stood for is blown out of the window. Now don't get me wrong, right, I'm all for a bit of positive expressionism, but frankly by this point it's all just become a bit preachy. “Maybe knowing its I'm going to die, that makes me want to try, to just enjoy my life, Im lucky to be alive”. I get it. I need to sort myself out. However, in the grand scheme of it, it probably needs to be here.
And as the sun draws down, the last of the light draws out like the final sips of the fruity pink cider you have been supping, we enter the finale. 'Thank You For Being My Friend' is what any final track should be. Something poignant, not gushy, but personal. “I know its time to go, so until we're together again, I want to thank you for being you and for being my friend”, Owen regales.
I think in its place, 'The Great Perhaps' shows TBLLT's structural development and a potentially inspired new level of rhyme, but to be honest, I just enjoyed the all round relaxed vibe. I am in no doubt that I am being far too literal in this but I still reckon its all pretty much summed up by the line, “Sat watching the parade, drinking gin and lemonade making plans for christmas” from The Dreaming Song. Best enjoyed chilled. Changed my world? No. Restored my faith in love? Probably not. Aided my summer drinking habit? Most Likely.