Rolling Stone magazine reportedly commented that “If all your childhood stuffed animals got together and started a band, it might sound like The Boy Least Likely To.” Now, call me cynical, but a) this is (probably, I’m guessing after all) very accurate and b) NOT.A.GOOD.THING.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love a lot of twee-pop, c86, old-school indie…call it what you will. I think a lot of the music produced then and now that comes under this banner is great. I love the Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and I can’t wait for the new Camera Obscura album. But this album is horrific. It is so sweet that it makes the recorded output of Kelly Clarkson and Britney Spears’ early stuff sound like Sunn o ))) or Earth. It’s the audio equivalent of force-feeding a diabetic insulin and chocolate. It starts to be unkind. I listened to this album once a week ago…and put it to one side to try again. My view remains the same.
Set in the playground (for goodness sake!), thirteen songs about life in the primary school playground. What kind of warped mind thinks this is a good idea and then inflicts this on listeners? I’d heard stuff before by this band and liked them. Now I never want to hear them again. It’s one thing to be anti-machismo and it’s a stance I’m not unsympathetic to. But by the same token, please grow a bloody spine.
There is no way on earth that these guys are the spiritual heirs to Belle and Sebastian, who could be quite acerbic in their lyrics (go and listen to The Boy With The Arab Strap). Hopefully this will actually wake Stuart Murdoch and co. up from writing a musical or whatever the hell it is they are doing, and come back and kick these guys’ lily-white butts.
I’m off to play Slayer. Very, very loudly.
1 1/2 (and that’s being generous).