Image courtesy Cornerstone
"I am alone now, truly alone, and absolutely isolated from any known life. I am it. If a count were taken, the score would be three billion plus two over on the other side of the moon, and one plus God knows what on this side." -Michael Collins, Apollo 11 astronaut
British duo the Boy Least Likely To can relate. They've carved a steady career of championing the underdog and pondering the pros and cons of solitude. Though they've lyrically copped to blissful ignorance in the past ("I'm happy because I'm stupid," Jof Owen sang on their breakout 2005 single, "Be Gentle with Me"), they're now sponges of universal knowledge, seeking The Great Perhaps on their new album for Too Young To Die Records.
Whereas "Glockenspiels dominated the last two albums," as Owen tells us one Sunday morning over the phone, "it felt like keyboards and drum machines made more sense with what we’re writing about." There's a boatload of celestial references in The Great Perhaps, from the cosmic romance that blooms in the 8-bit "I Keep Falling in Love With You Again" to an eponymous ode to the aforementioned Collins.
Owen and BLLT brother in arms Pete Hobbs penned their own sort of "Space Oddity" with this one, with twinkling acoustic guitars, brush-kissed marching drums and reverberating, lonely vocals. "I was just reading about Apollo 11, the moon landing. And I just now heard about the third astronaut," Owen says, recounting the writing process. "I thought it was amazing. He was someone who— everyone knows Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong. He sort of just got on… it’d be solemn to be such a part of that but unfamous for that. And it appealed to me the idea-- that being a part of something very big and not being written about at all.”
This album does delve into "big" themes: the yin and yang of life and death, delusions of grandeur (the quixotic "Taking Windmills for Giants") and of course love-- often one of the greatest perhapses of all.
Owen and Hobbs were joined on the nostalgic "It Could Have Been Me" by Gwenno Saunders of the Pipettes. It's a mirthful speculation into the never-realized amour between school pals. The collaboration was born when the band reached out to Saunders via Twitter, and she agreed to lend her vocals and a hand.
The spirit of generosity permeates the whole of The Great Perhaps. The duo set up a Pledge Music drive so fans could directly pitch in to the process, and boy, did they. At the conclusion, the project was 165 percent funded.
“People have been really sweet," Owen says. "Getting to talk to the fans as well, to tell their stories— especially since there’s a pledge where we’d write a song about you.”
Yep, your own Boy Least Likely To-penned ditty for 250 pounds. Other notable gifts were a songwriting workshop and original BLLT artwork, all in the spirit of crowdsourcing.
Maybe the Boy Least Likely To's universe isn't so lonely after all.