The Boy Least Likely To’s The Great Perhaps is a sonically childlike trip through the broken heart. The Boy’s third effort, The Great Perhaps is, similar to their albums in the past, quirky and light-hearted, but decidedly less successful in marrying its childlike charm with more mature themes. At its best The Great Perhaps juxtaposes their youthful sound with adult lyrical content quite charmingly, at its worst veering on tastelessness and gimmick.
Jof Owen and Pete Hobbs formed The Boy Least Likely To in 2002, and have remained refreshingly outside of the ups and downs of the indie pop world ever since. Their first record, The Best Party Ever found The Boy’s quite a lot of success with many ad placements including General Motors and Apple, sharing the same childlike themes and tinkling production as The Great Perhaps. However, it was decidedly more refined, more mature.
The Boys find their stride halfway through the album with the ballad “Michael Collins.” It’s melodies are reminiscent of Pink Floyd, and the lyrical content is the most deeply developed on the album. On the other end of the spectrum is the track “Even Jesus Couldn’t Mend My Heart.” Thematically this song is a bit of a conundrum, with the prevalent Jesus reference, but that may be a matter of taste. Owen and Hobbs take the juxtaposition between heartbroken lyrical content and childlike (reminiscent of video-game sounds of my childhood) production too far on this one; it feels tasteless.
As a complete work, The Great Perhaps is a charming effort from a comfortingly out-of-the-loop duo. They are not concerned with trends or ebbs and flows of indie pop music, simply progressing from album to album in their own way. They get to a catchy and charming point for the last half of the record, “The Dreamer Song” is a definite standout with its soaring melody and nostalgic vibe, even a Beach Boys influenced harmony. I just wish that they got to this charming point sooner.