- And, in the Best Brooder category, the winner is
Dancing in the studio is what it's all about for Jof Owen and Pete Hobbs, better known as The Boy Least Likely To.
Such spontaneous movement means this Wendover, England-based duo, which creates pop melodies and engaging lyrics that bounce between a chamber feel and an indie vibe, has officially finished a song. It's that simple.
"Music always makes me smile," says Owen, calling from his hometown. "Because I laugh, that's how we know we hit the right point in a song, when we're putting instruments on there and stuff. I think that's what we hope happens to the audience with the record."
The record he's talking about is the band's debut, The Best Party Ever, which features what the twosome considers a country-disco style. To others, the music is a pastiche of '60s pop combined with a new-millennium chamber-pop aesthetic that instantly draws comparisons to the work of Belle & Sebastian.
Owen doesn't mind the B&S association, but he stresses there's much more to The Boy Least Likely To. In fact, while hints of Orange Juice and Nick Drake are evident, the real foundation stems from the Donovan era.
"The '60s stuff, in terms of a way of making pop music, was quite experimental, artistically," Owen says. "I think we identify with that sort of thing. For us, pop music has some freedom."
In examining the music found on The Best Party Ever, what stands out is a simplicity and airy quality that feels almost pre-British Invasion at times, with its lack of blues-based influence or structure. There are no minute-long guitar solos when this band performs live.
Owen says that at one time, the majority of the album featured many more layers of percussion, banjos and even glockenspiels. In the end, the outfit stripped away the sheen to reveal an intimate and perhaps insecure nature that defines the disc.
As for the aforementioned freedom, it's found in the lyrics. While the music may feel elementary, time spent with the melancholic words exposes the true nature of The Boy Least Likely To.
"We want to make a pop record that has depth and levity, and I think that's what the lyrics are for," Owen says. "They might be tongue-in-cheek sometimes, but there is a darker, more serious side, I suppose."
While any upstart act dreams of success, the rise of The Boy Least Likely To, from obscure band in the U.K. to much-hyped U.S. import, has been surreal to Owen and Hobbs.
In fact, it's not hard to see how they view themselves in today's musical landscape. Throughout the conversation, Owen uses the word "odd" numerous times, including when he mentions the new track "Oddballs."
"I think we kind of feel odd, genuinely, in the music scene, really," Owen says. "The indie pop scene is the only one where we sort of feel a little bit at home. Everywhere else, we feel a bit odd. We feel cut out, but I think that's to be expected." capsule
The Boy Least Likely To with The Bicycles
Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., Boulder
Tuesday, June 6, 8 p.m.
Tickets $10-$12, all ages; call 303/443-3399.