Progress Report

Progress Report: The Boy Least Likely To

Today we check in with and premiere a new song from an English indie-pop duo whose Best Party Ever made many Best of 2005 lists…

NAME: The Boy Least Likely To
PROGRESS REPORT: Single, “The First Snowflake” out December 15; second album out March 2009, recorded at home in Wendover, England.

The Boy Least Likely To’s “Be Gentle With Me” is, like “Young Folks” or “Paper Planes,” one of those breakthrough songs that lends itself to a million contexts: bank commercials, in-store soundtracks, movie trailers about bitchy pregnant girls. With the year-long delay of the band’s second album, TBLLT’s Pete Hobbs and Jof Owen have had plenty of time to catch all its appearances, between watching many re-runs of Firefly. “It was used the other night on a TV show called Celebrity Body Doubles, just as a male porn star was explaining proudly about how big his dick was,” Owen says. “That was quite weird.” It’s weird, but also a little sad — though Owen says hearing the song is always a “nice surprise,” it’s a reminder that it’s been two years since The Best Party Ever was released. The Boy Least Like To’s second (still untitled) LP was held up by demise of their record label. “It was frustrating,” says Owen. “We were stuck signed to a label that wasn’t a label anymore. We might as well have been signed to a flower shop.” The guys regained ownership of their album this year, and in March it’ll be out on their own label in the UK and +1 Records in the US.

The premiere single from the upcoming record, “The First Snowflake,” has sleigh bells and many winter references, but it’s not a Christmas novelty. It reflects the regret and loneliness that comes with the season. “Originally the lyrics were a bit bleaker, but by the time we came to record it we were out of the record deal and we were both much happier,” says Owen. “So I rewrote the last verse so that it ends on quite a hopeful conciliatory note.” The new album also includes two tracks — “A Balloon On A Broken String” and “I Box Up All The Butterflies” — that have been on their MySpace site for a while. As you might guess from the titles, the album maintains the same fragility and joy that made The Best Party Ever so appealing. The guys recorded at home but had production help from their friend Jamie Johnson, so while the songs are a little more refined, all the banjos, keyboards, and glockenspiels from the first record will be here too. The band have also added brass instruments to their palate, which are a big part of “The Boy With Two Hearts,” Owen’s favorite on the album. “We recorded all the brass parts with the Grimethorpe Colliery Band. I remember the demo was quite mournful in a really sweet way and I ended up writing relatively simple words for it,” he says. “It sounds quite sad and Christmassy, and it reminds me of the theme tune to [BBC children’s show] The Flumps, but I don’t expect anyone else will think that.” Let’s hope they don’t think of well-endowed porn stars either.

Have a listen to “The First Snowflake”:

If there’s a band you want Progress Report to drag out of the studio, or bed, for an update, shout out in the comments or e-mail [email protected].