Label: Too Young To Die Link: www.theboyleastlikelyto.co.uk The Boy Least Likely To are a band proud not to fit in. Their unique brand of fizzy country-fied pop is a refreshing change from the current bland NME generation. Their sound undoubtedly owes a great debt to bands such as Belle and Sebastian and the c86 twee pop bands of the 80's. For those who do not recognise the band, their song 'i'm glad I hitched my apple wagon to your star' was featured on the 'ING direct Insurance' advert...not a great start. Still, there are few acoustic duos around that could so successfully get away with both brass and banjo, it is this  goofy, sugar-coated sound that earned them such great critical acclaim for their first album - 'The Best Part Ever'. The band's new album, as if produced by Picachu himself, is filled with songs smothered with childhood innocence and ultra-cuteness. Law of the Playground retains a similar feeling as the first and the plucky country-pop is still there (see 'The Worm Forgives The Plough'  and 'The Nature Of The Boy Least Likely To') Yet, behind the facade of whimsical melodies and, dare i say it, quirky lyrics, lies solid songwriting and catchy hooks. The production of Law of the Playground gives a nice hi-fi sheen to the boy least likely to's sound, though luckily not in the generic 'indie' production that's everywhere at the moment. It allows Jof Owen's Elliot Smith-ish vocals to come to the fore and implants a new more forceful rhythm section to many of the songs (see Whispers) making them (shock horror) danceable. This said, i did find that all the 'cute' childhood references (see the band, album and song titles) often obscured the more subtle points of the album- notably in the melancholy undertones of 'A Balloon On A Broken String'. Regardless, Law of the Playground is extremely enjoyable and is the perfect antidote to the credit crunch! Ridiculous, but unashamedly lots of fun. Rating: 7/10