While my inner judgmental music critic constantly warns me not to judge a book – or album – by its cover, my inner six-year-old sometimes gets the best of me. Such was the case when I caught sight of the debut full-length album by the quirky British two piece, the Boy Least Likely To. The album – fittingly dubbed The Best Party Ever – resembled something I had manufactured in kindergarten: a colorful, squiggly, one-dimensional band of bunnies, hamsters and other unidentifiable wildlife, all decked out and ready to jam with their makeshift instruments. Sure, The Best Party Ever may look a little snazzier than anything I ever turned out (my crayon-control skills were lacking as a child), but the conceptual similarities were definitely there. Likewise, the musical stylings of the Boy Least Likely To are easily as fantastic as anything Sharon, Lois & Bram were churning out fifteen years ago.

But what lies beneath the quacks, bells, quirky xylophone work and falsetto ramblings that make up The Best Party Ever are lyrics and arrangements that are anything but childish. With a repertoire that recalls the eccentric pop sentiments of acts like Architecture in Helsinki and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, the Boy Least Likely To prides itself on mixing giddy and goofy instrumentation with melancholy and – at times – morose lyricism. On “Fur as Soft as Fur, lead singer Jof Owen waxes poetical over Pete Hobbs’s chimes and tambourines, singing: “Fur as soft as fur / Fresh strawberries and cream / Sometimes at work I feel like a machine.” Then, as the unconventional orchestra kicks into full gear, Owen sends his audience a curve ball, lamenting, “I’m afraid of growing old / And being on my own … I’m afraid of letting go / Of everything I know / So I just sadly float / Away down stream.”

This seemingly contradictory combination of music and subject matter quickly becomes a running theme on The Best Party Ever. But the true genius of the album lies in the fact that neither element ever overshadows the other. The Nintendo-inspired arrangements on “Paper Cuts” work to compliment – not challenge – Owen as he asserts, “I’ve always been in love with you” throughout the song. Similarly, the metaphor-ridden and duck call driven ditty, “I’m Glad I Hitched My Apple Wagon To Your Star” somehow manages to segue seamlessly into the balladic whispers of “The Battle of the Boy Least Likely To.” It is the latter, with its quiet guitars and sporadic flute work that acts as the album’s glue. Owen murmurs through lines like, “Paper thin skin stretched over my bones / From shells and pebbles you / You quietly made me / Made me a home” with an unabashed and heartfelt honesty that is not quite so obvious elsewhere on the album.

By its close, The Best Party Ever succeeds not only in melding the childishly whimsical with the contemplative and mature, but proving that we can enjoy both simultaneously. And for those of us less interested in pondering love, loss, life and death, there are always the catchy hooks and cuddly cartoon mascots.

[Aly Comingore is hereby switching her major to art studio with an emphasis in squiggle drawing.]