One of the more peculiar full lengths I had the fortune of reviewing in 2011 was Little Boy Jr.’s debut, Local Thieves. From a critical standpoint, there was little else I listened to in the year that sounded quite like it — of this decade, anyway.
So distinguished was it that the album secured one of the final spots in my year-end albums list.
If you’re versed in the music of Little Boy Jr. and happen to have an opinion of them that isn’t unlike mine, then I’m confident we’d agree that their sound on Local Thieves was like a sincere homage to party rock of the ’60s. I mean, I can very clearly recall how unexpected it was for me to get connected to a group of guys that were making original music that very well could have developed some following in 1965.
Familiar, and yet its own thing.
With that said, singer-guitar Joe Courtney wrote me the other day to tell me he and Little Boy Jr. released a pair of new tracks and invited me to give them a listen. For whatever reason I accepted his tidings with a bit of hesitation, knowing I’d be considered just a skosh to the right of pain in the ass to suggest that they ought to one up what was already uniquely theirs. And in such short turnaround, too: Local Thieves came out in July.
But whatever. I listened, and I like. I’d confidently put “Tell Me” or “Lazy Lover” out in front of anything on Local Thieves. And I liked Local Thieves.
What’s changed? Quite a few things, actually:
- Little Boy Jr. functions more as a unit than before. The instruments coordinate with each other with real fluidity. It isn’t like on “Stalin” anymore where you’ve got the band and vocals working one way and the sax another. At the time I didn’t mind — still don’t — but I’ve learned I prefer the more unified sound.
- The boys scrubbed off the grit and come away with a sound that sparkles with a kind of sheen. The fuzz has been buffed out.
- Lead vocals are controlled. They seem to float in a range that makes sense instead of peaking and peaking on high notes throughout. For this reason, ‘Tell Me” would have sounded very different on Local Thieves.
Incredibly — I think it, anyway — I’ve yet to see these guys at a live show.
Well, get listening to “Lazy Lover”:
- You’re one click away from downloading “Tell Me” and “Lazy Lover” totally for free. | Bandcamp
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