Fifteen years on from the release of their first single and twelve years since the release of their seminal debut album The Best Party Ever, The Boy Least Likely To celebrate their against all odds success with the release of their Greatest Hits album. 17 tracks taken from their four albums as well as a long overdue studio version of their cover of George Michael’s Faith and a brand new single, One Of These Days.
The band, made up of Peter Hobbs and Jof Owen, met when they were still at school and grew up together in the middle of the English countryside in the small Buckinghamshire village of Wendover.
They spent their teenage years scouring countryside car boot sales for rare Dexys seven inches and Lee Hazelwood albums. Reading Carson McCullers, Anne Sexton and Smash Hits magazines. Watching John Hughes films and old videos of Top of the Pops. All the time putting together a collection of weird and wonderful instruments found in second hand shops, craft fairs and the Early Learning Centre.
They released their debut album, The Best Party Ever, in 2005 to widespread critical acclaim, making more than its fair share of best-of lists that year. They were in Rolling Stone’s top ten bands of 2006. The Best Party Ever was in the Rough Trade shop top 10 albums. It was also included in Pitchfork’s top 50 albums of the year, who described the album as “a thing of wonder”. Be Gentle With Me became, like Young Folks or Paper Planes, one of those breakthrough songs that lent itself to a myriad of contexts.
With a video starring Rashida Jones, their songs featured in everything from Greys Anatomy to Juno, from Coca Cola to car adverts. With their trademark glockenspiels and banjos, the songs from that first album have remained in the public consciousness through television and film syncs and placements, long after the album’s release. They were one of the last wave of mid-noughties indiepop bands who could happily play the Pitchfork stage at SXSW and appear live on KEXP at the same time as enjoying mainstream success back home with appearances on Popworld, GMTV and the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party.
The band’s second album The Law Of The Playground, resonated just as quickly as the first. The track Stringing Up Conkers featured in an Apple iPhone advert. When Life Gives Me Lemons on the soundtrack to the hit Emma Stone movie, Easy A and more recently the Peter Rabbit movie.
Between then and now they released a Christmas album and their fourth studio album The Great Perhaps, which includes a duet with indiepop legend Gwenno, and the first single from their next album Follow Your Heart Somewhere.
These are dark times for a world caught up in political turbulence and worldwide economic uncertainty; it feels like we’ve never needed The Boy Least Likely To and their brand of wide-eyed indiepop more. After all, no other band manages to sound quite so joyful and quite so afraid of modern life all at the same time.
The band will be playing some very special Christmas greatest hits shows: